Skip to main content

Full text of "One hundred years of Singapore : being some account of the capital of the Straits Settlements from its foundation by Sir Stamford Raffles on the 6th February 1819 to the 6th February 1919"

See other formats



FEBRUARY     1819     TO     THE     6th     FEBRUARY     1919 








VOL.   II 




All  Rights  Reserved 






The  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Company,  by  Sir  John  Rumney 

Nicholson,  Kt.,  C.M.G.,  formerly  Chairman          .          .  i 

Sir  John  Nicholson,  Kt.,  C.M.G 19 



Commerce  and  Currency,  by  C.  W.  Darbishire,  formerly 
Chairman  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  and  Member  of 
the  Legislative  Council  .  .  .  .  .  .22 

Opium,   Liquor,   Farms,  and  the  Monopoly,  by  the  late 

J.  R.  Brooke 55 

The  Opium  Commission     .......  58 

Botanic  Gardens  and  Economic  Notes,  by  Dr.  Gilbert 

E.  Brooke          ........  63 

Mr.  Henry  Nicholas  Ridley,  C.M.G.,  F.R.S.     ...  78 

Planting  in  Singapore,  by  H.  Price         ....  79 

Growth  of  the  Rubber  Trade,  by  H.  Price     ...  84 
Rubber  and  Rubber  Planting,  by  H.  Price     ...  88 
Early  Planting  Days,  by  Walter  Fox,  formerly  Super- 
intendent Forests  and  Gardens,  Penang         ...  91 
The  Mineral  Oil  Trade           ......  97 


By  T.  A.  Melville,  of  the  Straits  Settlements  Post  Office       .     102 



By  Walter  Makepeace 

The  Telegraph  Co. — Oriental  Telephone  and  Electric 
Co. — ^The  Peninsular  and  Oriental  Steam  Navigation 
Co.,  Ltd. — Banking — The  Commercial  Firms     .  .     166 



By  the  Rev.  W.  Murray,  M.A. 


Churches  and  Missions — The  Church  of  England  in 
Singapore — The  Catholic  Church — The  French  Mis- 
sion— ThePortuguese  Mission — The  Armenian  Church 
— Presbyterianism  in  Singapore — The  Methodist 
Episcopal  Church  and  Mission — Bethesda — The 
Jewish  Synagogue — The  Chinese  Gospel  House        .     235 



By  Walter  Makepeace 

The  Press — Literature — Journalism — "  Straits  Pro- 
duce " — The  Press  of  the  Domiciled  Community — 
The  Straits  Settlements  Association — The  Straits 
Philosophical  Society — St.  Andrew's  Society — The 
British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society — The  Boustead 
Institute— The  Y.M.C.A.— The  Y.W.C.A.— The  Singa- 
pore Club — The  Association  of  Engineers — The 
Merchant  Service  Guild — Miscellaneous  Associa- 
tions— The  Swimming  Club — Singapore  Yacht  Clubs 
— Photographic  Society     ......     278 



Introduction  —  Cricket  —  Lawn  Tennis  —  Rugby  Foot- 
ball —  Association  Football  —  Hockey  —  Lawn 
Bowls — Polo — The  Ladies'  Lawn  Tennis  Club — The 
Singapore  Golf  Club — Racing — Daddy  Abrams's 
Last  Race — Automobilism — The  Singapore  Recrea- 
tion Club — Shikar  (by  G.  P.  Owen)     ....     320 





By  Walter  Makepeace 


The  Reads — The  Braddell  Family — The  Maxwells — The 
Cranes — The  Dunmans — The  d'Almeidas — The  Shel- 

FORDS ^ThE    KeRS    and    THE    KeRRS ThE    GeORGES 

The  Scrymgeours — The  Ormistons — Sir  John  Ander- 
son— Charles  Burton  Buckley — John  Fraser — 
Charles  Phillips — Miss  Sophia  Cooke — Sir  Henry 
McCallum — Manasseh  Meyer — K.  B.  S.  Robertson    .     416 



The  Good  Old  Days,  by  Roland  St.  J.  Braddell     .         .  465 

Personal  Recollections,  by  Henry  Barnaby  Leicester  .  525 

Awakening  Old  Memories,  by  J.  H.  Drysdale  .  .  538 

A  Mid-Century  Diary,  by  Mrs.  G.  P.  Owen        .  .  .  542 


Singapore's  future 
By  Alexander  W.  Still,  F.J. I.,  Editor  of  the  Straits  Times  .     560 


THE    centenary    DAY    AND    ITS    CELEBRATION 
By  Dr.  Gilbert  E.  Brooke      ......     570 

Chronology  of  Singapore       .         .         .         .587 
Index      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .611 







BOARD  ..... 



THE   king's    dock  .... 



HON.    MR.    C,    W.    DARBISHIRE 


DR.    NATHANIEL   WALLICH,    M.D.,    PH.D.    . 

HENRY    NICHOLAS    RIDLEY,    C.M.G.,    F.R.S. 



NOEL   TROTTER     ..... 


THOMAS    SCOTT     ..... 




H.    M.    SIMONS        ..... 



R.    KER       ...... 

W.    KER      ...... 

J.    GRAHAM  ..... 

ST.  Andrew's  cathedral,  showing  the  statue 

FORD    raffles   ON    ITS   ORIGINAL   SITE 













BISHOP   CASTRO    OF   MACAO     .... 

REV.    DR.    SHELLABEAR  .... 

OLD    BETHESDA    ...... 

PRINSEP   STREET    CHURCH       .... 


JOHN    CAMERON,     EDITOR     OF     THE     "  STRAITS     TIMES  "     186I-7  282 

ALEXANDER        WILLIAM        STILL,       PRESENT       EDITOR      OF      THE 

"  STRAITS    TIMES  " 282 

ARNOT    REID  .........  29O 

Caricature  by  R.  W,  Braddell. 


PRESS  "    1887-I916  .......  292 


DR.    LIM    BOON    KENG) 294 

*'  I  won't  resign  !  !  !  "  (thomas  shelford,  m.l.c.)       .         .  294 

OUR  JOLLY  OLD  OCTOPUS  (jOHN  FRASER)    ....  294 

straits  philosophical  society  dinner       ....  302 

the  second  s.c.c.  pavilion         ......  322 

the  third  s.c.c.  pavilion  ......  $22 

(sir)  e.  w.  birch  ;  a.  h.  capper         .....  326 

Caricatures  by  R.  W.  BraddeU. 

THE   S.C.C.    CRICKET   XI,    I902  ......  328 

THE    S.C.C.    LAWN    TENNIS    TOURNAMENT,    1 894  .  .  .  33O 

R.      W.      BRADDELL     AND      F.      M.      ELLIOT,      PROFESSION      PAIRS, 

1893-6,    I9OI,    AND    1904 332 

Caricatures  by  R.  W.  Braddell. 

THE    FIRST    S.C.C.    TEAM   TO   WIN    THE    FOOTBALL    SHIELD  .  334 

ladies'    LAWN    TENNIS    CLUB    AS    ORIGINALLY   LAID    OUT  .  336 


Caricature  by  R.  W.  Braddell. 

"MR.    CURPEJEE  "    (j.    PATON    KER) 35O 

Caricature  by  R.  W.  Braddell. 

H.    ABRAMS  .........  360 


SINGAPORE  ........  364 

MRS.    DARE    (MRS.    G.    P.    OWEN)    WITH    MR.    DARE   IN    S.I  .  364 

G.    P.    OWEN    WITH    HIS    FIRST   TIGER         .....  368 

J.    C.    D.    JONES   ("PANJANG"),    A.    Y.    GAHAGAN,    J.    M.    FABRIS  386 

Caricatures  by  R.  W.  Braddell. 

MRS.    SALZMANN     .  ........  388 

MRS.    MELVILLE    SIMONS  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  38^ 


GROUP   FROM    "lOLANTHE,"    1889 

"  THREE   LITTLE   MAIDS    FROM    SCHOOL,"    "  THE   MIKADO,"    1893 


G.    T.    BATTY 

MR.    AND   MRS.    G.    P.    OWEN   IN    "  THE   GRAND    DUKE,"    1889 

W.    DUNMAN    AND    E.    E.    SYKES       . 

"THE   YEOMEN    OF   THE   GUARD,"    I903 

ACT    OF    "  here's    fun  " 


W.    H.    READ,    C.M.G.      . 

R.    B.    READ 







JOHN    ERASER       . 

MISS    SOPHIA    COOKE     . 








flint's  buildings 

cavenagh  bridge 

orchard  road  police  station,  1880 

messrs.  a.  l.  johnston's  premises  in  the  'seventies 

the  s.v.a.  drill  hall,  backs  of  the  post  office.  singapore 
club,  and  johnston's  pier 

h.h.  sultan  abubakar  of  johore,  g. c.m.g,,  k. c.s.i. 

Vanity  Fair  Cartoon  by  R.  W.  Braddell. 
SINGAPORE,    1846  ...... 







By  Sir  John  Rumney  Nicholson,  Kt.,  C.M.G.,  formerly 


On  the  nth  September  1863  a  meeting  was  held  in 
Singapore,  at  which  the  following  were  present  :  Messrs. 
M.  F.  Davidson,  Chairman  ;  C.  H.  Harrison,  C.  H.  H. 
Wilsone,  Tan  Kim  Ching,  J.  K.  Smith,  Thos.  Scott, 
S.  Gilfillan,  Syed  Abdullah,  Pochajee  Pestonjee,  Wei 
Kow,  G.  H.  Brown,  C.  Puttfarcken,  G.  Cramer,  Th. 
Wagner,  C.  P.  Lalla,  J.  Watson,  Geo.  Lyon,  J.  Cameron, 
R.  Riley,  J.  Fisher,  and  Ong  Kew  Ho. 

On  these  gentlemen  promising  to  take  up  shares  in 
a  company  to  provide  facilities  for  ship-repairing,  Mr. 
Thomas  Scott  proposed  and  Mr.  S.  Gilfillan  seconded : 
"  That  the  support  the  scheme  has  met  with  from  the 
number  of  shares  applied  for  warrants  expense  being 
incurred  for  plans  and  estimates  for  the  undertaking." 

Plans  and  estimates  were  to  be  called  for  by  adver- 
tisement in  the  newspapers  for  a  patent  slip  and 
graving  dock  at  Tanjong  Pagar. 

A  Committee  was  appointed,  with  Mr.  Thomas  Scott 
as  Secretary,  to  carry  out  the  necessary  arrangements 
and  draw  up  a  prospectus. 


The  Committee  met  on  the  14th  September,  and 
resolved  that  the  patent  shp  be  not  undertaken,  but 
that  a  graving  dock  be  constructed  on  Messrs.  Guthrie's 
land  of  the  following  dimensions  :  550  feet  in  length, 
65  feet  width  of  entrance,  23  feet  depth  of  water  on  the 
sill.  This  was  a  very  large  dock  in  those  days,  and  on 
the  advice  of  Messrs.  John  Baxter,  John  Clunis,  J.  L. 
Kirby,  and  E.  M.  Smith  the  Committee  reduced  the 
width  to  51  feet  and  the  depth  to  20  feet,  and  decided 
that  the  dock  be  built  of  wood,  with  a  granite  entrance, 
and  be  divided  by  gates  in  the  middle.  At  a  subsequent 
meeting  of  the  Committee  it  was  resolved  that  Mr. 
George  Lyon  be  engaged  to  carry  out  the  work  at  a 
remuneration  of  $200  per  month,  and  Messrs.  Baxter 
and  Turnbull  be  asked  to  advise.  A  proposal  was  put 
forward  by  Mr.  Lyon  that  wharves  be  built  so  as  to 
combine  the  business  of  ship-repairers  and  wharfingers. 
Friends  in  England  were  to  be  advised  of  what  was 
being  done,  with  a  view  to  their  taking  an  interest  in 
the  undertaking.  Plans  and  estimates  were  to  be  sent 
to  England,  the  Committee  expressing  the  opinion  that 
Mr.  Lyon's  judgment,  checked  by  Messrs.  Turnbull  and 
Baxter,  was  quite  equal  to  that  of  any  person  from 
England.  We  have  here  the  expression  of  an  opinion, 
which  it  is  feared  lasted  to  the  end  of  the  Company, 
that  Singapore  could  learn  nothing  from  England.  A 
plan  of  a  dock  was  received  from  London  in  June  1864, 
and  submitted  by  Colonel  Collyer. 

On  the  29th  September  1864  "  The  Tanjong  Pagar 
Dock  Company,  Limited,"  was  registered,  with  a  capital 
of  $300,000. 

Work  on  the  building  of  a  retaining  wall  and  of  a 
piled  wharf  had  been  carried  on  for  some  time,  but  as 
the  wall  had  fallen  in  and  other  troubles  had  arisen  in 
the  construction,  it  was  decided  to  obtain  an  engineer 
from  England.  Mr.  W.  J.  Du  Port  was  engaged,  and 
arrived  in  September  1865,  Mr.  Lyon  resigning,  as  he 
declined  to  act  under  Mr.  Du  Port. 

New  plans  for  a  dock  450  feet  long,  6s  feet  width  of 


entrance,  and  20  feet  depth  of  water  on  the  sill  were 
got  out  and  work  commenced.  This  dock  was  formally- 
opened,  and  named  the  "  Victoria  Dock,"  by  His  Excel- 
lency the  Governor,  Sir  Harry  Ord,  K.C.B.,  on  the 
17th  October  1868,  when  the  Colonial  steamers  Peiho 
and  Rainbow  were  docked  together. 

For  some  time  previous  to  this  ship-repairing  had 
been  carried  out,  the  ship  Moneka,  in  June  1865,  being 
the  first,  and  the  bill  for  $200  was  remitted.  George 
Hayes,  the  first  shipwright  from  England,  arrived  in 
March  1 866.  About  this  time  an  endeavour  to  purchase 
or  to  come  to  an  agreement  of  amalgamation  with  the 
Patent  Slipway  and  Dock  Company  was  made,  but 
without  success. 

At  the  end  of  1866  a  wharf  1,440  feet  long  had  been 
almost  completed,  and  during  that  year  thirty-three 
steamers  and  twenty-eight  sailing  ships  had  been  berthed 
alongside  it.  The  growth  of  traffic  to  town  had  so 
increased  that  the  Directors  proposed  to  construct  a 
road  on  the  same  site  that  Anson  Road  now  runs  on, 
and  pave  it  with  granite  to  carry  steam  traction  engines, 
another  proposal  being  to  run  a  railway  round  Malay 

Although  the  undertaking  seemed  on  the  fair  way  to 
success,  there  was  considerable  difficulty  in  raising  the 
money  to  complete  the  dock.  An  issue  of  debentures 
at  10  per  cent,  in  1868  had  not  been  readily  taken  up. 
Mr.  E.  M.  Smith  took  charge  of  the  Company's  business 
as  Manager  and  Secretary  on  the  ist  November  1867, 
retiring  from  the  service  on  the  30th  June  1881. 

In  February  1870  we  have  the  first  mention  of  con- 
gested godowns,  and  it  is  interesting  to  note  the  amount 
of  traffic  which  passed  over  the  wharves  in  that  year  : 
coal  inward,  24,164  tons  ;  coal  outward,  37,66y  tons  ; 
total,  61,831  tons.  General  cargo  inward,  54,485  tons  ; 
general  cargo  outward,  28,485  tons  ;   total,  82,970  tons. 

It  was  estimated  that  about  75,000  tons  of  cargo  was 
for  the  town,  and  the  balance  for  transhipment  at  the 


In  June  1870  the  Bon- Accord  Dock  was  leased  by  the 
Company,  in  conjunction  with  the  Patent  SHp  and  Dock 
Company,  from  Messrs.  Buyers  and  Robb. 

The  competition  of  the  Patent  SHp  &  Dock  Company 
and  the  Bon-Accord  Dock  appears  to  have  been  felt,  as 
we  find  the  Chairman  stating,  in  his  report  in  August 
1 87 1,  "  that  the  dock  has  not  proved  remunerative. 
There  has  been  very  little  business  offering  as  compared 
with  former  years,  and  your  Directors  are  not  sanguine 
of  large  returns  from  this  part  of  the  works.  The 
employment  of  steamers  in  place  of  sailing  vessels,  or 
iron  in  lieu  of  wood,  must  render  docking  all  over  the 
East  less  profitable  than  in  former  years." 

From  the  Directors'  minutes  it  appears  that  a  railway 
company  was  being  promoted  in  Singapore,  as  an  entry 
in  May  1871  states  that  a  petition  signed  is  to  be  sent 
in  by  the  Directors  praying  the  Legislative  Council  to 
give  favourable  consideration  of  the  Railway  Company's 
claim.  The  Directors  seem  to  have  recognised  the  value 
of  a  railway,  as  in  the  following  year  they  decided  to 
lay  a  railway,  4  feet  8  J  inch  gauge,  behind  the  wharves. 
This  railway  was  laid  and  worked  by  horses,  but  did  not 
appear  to  be  a  success  owing  to  sickness  amongst  the 
horses.  In  carrying  out  the  new  reconstruction  works 
this  old  railway  was  come  across. 

In  the  following  August,  1872,  however,  the  Chairman 
was  able  to  announce  a  dividend  at  the  rate  of  12  per 
cent,  per  annum,  which  indicated  the  increasing  pros- 
perity of  the  undertaking.  No  doubt  the  opening  of 
the  Suez  Canal  was  having  a  beneficial  result  to  the 

We  have  an  entry  in  the  minute  book  on  the 
26th  October  1873,  which  sounds  somewhat  mediaeval: 
"  The  wat  chmen  were  to  be  increased,  and  armed  at  night 
with  cutlasses  and  rattles."  We  also  note  that  it  was 
considered  dangerous  to  send  goods  to  town  by  Chinese 
boats.  "  Watchmen  were  to  be  given  an  occasional  half- 
holiday  for  diligent  and  good  service."  It  is  interesting 
to  note  prices  then  :   Ballow  timber,  cut  into  planks  , 


38  cents  per  cubic  foot,  and  coke  from  the  gas-works, 
$6  per  ton  delivered. 

On  the  30th  June  1874  a  serious  accident  to  a  vessel 
in  the  dock  occurred.  The  ship  England  fell  over,  and 
was  considerably  damaged,  so  much  so  that  she 
was  purchased  by  the  Company.  She  was  afterwards 
repaired  and  sold. 

Business  seems  to  have  increased  in  the  Dock  Depart- 
ment to  such  an  extent  that  in  July  1874  the  Board 
recommended  the  construction  of  another  dock,  and  an 
engineer,  Mr.  Parkes,  came  out  from  England  to  deter- 
mine its  site  and  design,  Mr.  Jackson  being  engaged  as 
the  Resident  Engineer.  The  funds  of  the  Company  now 
allowed  the  commencement  of  a  policy  which  the 
Directors  consistently  carried  out :  the  purchase  of 
adjoining  lands.  Duxton  and  Spottiswoode  estates 
were  bought. 

Passenger  traffic  to  town  must  have  considerably 
increased,  as  in  May  1875  the  Directors  agreed  to  allow 
a  Mr.  Kugelmann  to  erect  a  resting-room  on  the 
premises,  and  run  a  service  of  omnibuses  to  town 
every  fifteen  minutes. 

A  notable  event  occurred  on  the  13th  April  1877, 
when  a  fire  broke  out  in  the  upper  storey  of  the  black- 
smiths' lines,  and  rapidly  spread  through  other  coolie 
lines  to  the  coal  sheds,  which  were  in  a  few  minutes 
ablaze.  The  Government  fire-engine  and  a  large  number 
of  volunteers  were  soon  on  the  spot,  together  with 
soldiers  and  sailors  from  the  men-of-war  in  harbour. 
Their  task  seems  to  have  been  an  arduous  one,  as  the 
fire  was  not  got  under  control  until  the  23rd  April, 
when  practically  the  whole  of  the  coal  not  removed 
was  burnt  or  damaged.  Up  to  this  time  most  of  the 
coal  sheds  were  attap-roofed,  and  it  would  be  difficult 
to  confine  the  fire  within  limits.  There  would  be 
another  difficulty  in  supplying  the  fire-engine  boilers 
with  fresh  water,  as  up  to  this  time  the  request  of  the 
Directors  that  the  property  should  be  connected  to  the 
town  water  supply  had   been   refused.     The   fire   pro- 


bably  hastened  a  change  of  opinion  in  the  City  Fathei^^ 
as  the  connection  was  made  a-  few  months  afterwards. 
The  Company's  loss  in  buildings  and  expenses  in 
extinguishing  the  fire  amounted  to  $53,209.  The 
Insurance  Companies'  loss  must  have  been  a  heavy 

The  purchase  of  the  Mount  Palmer  lands  was  com- 
pleted in  1877,  and  in  the  following  year  the  top  of 
Mount  Palmer  was  handed  over  to  Government  for  a 
battery  in  consideration  for  which  and  the  purchase 
by  the  Company  of  a  right  of  way  through  Mr.  Guthrie's 
property  the  Government  agreed  to  construct  a  road 
from  Collyer  Quay  to  the  docks,  now  known  as  Robinson 
and  Anson  Roads. 

The  number  of  men  employed  daily  at  the  end  of 
1878  was  2,450. 

On  the  I  St  May  1879  His  Excellency  the  Adminis- 
trator of  the  Government,  Sir  Archibald  Edward  Anson, 
R.A.,  K.C.M.G.,  before  the  Directors  and  a  large  number 
of  guests,  opened  the  New  Dock,  which  had  been  com- 
menced in  September  1876,  naming  it  the  "  Albert 
Dock,"  the  Government  yacht  Pluto  and  the  Company's 
tug  Sunda  entering  the  dock.  This  dock,  which  is 
496  feet  long,  59  feet  width  of  entrance,  with  21  feet 
depth  of  water  on  the  sill,  was  not  completed  without 
trouble.  When  the  dam  was  removed  it  was  found 
that  a  drain  under  the  sill  connecting  the  body  of  the 
dock  with  the  pumping  sump  for  the  purpose  of  keeping 
the  dock  dry  during  construction  had  not  been  properly 
filled  in,  thus  allowing  the  sea  to  flow  into  the  dock. 
After  various  attempts  to  close  it  had  proved  failures, 
the  dam  had  to  be  reconstructed,  and  the  drain  was  then 
effectively  closed. 

The  question  of  lighting  the  wharves  and  docks  had 
often  been  considered  by  the  Board,  and  various  methods 
proposed  and  experimented  with.  A  limelight  appara- 
tus had  been  tried,  afterwards  purchased  by  Mr.  C.  B. 
Buckley.  Electric  light  was  first  installed  in  the  work- 
shops in  1878. 

•a.  6T 

The  Present  Chairman,  Singapore  Harbour  Board. 


Keen  competition  existed  between  the  Tanjong 
Pagar  Dock  Company  and  the  New  Harbour  Dock 
Company  as  regards  ship-repairing,  although  the  com- 
panies worked  amicably  together  in  many  ways,  being 
joint  owners  of  tugs  and  other  interests.  An  agree- 
ment, known  as  the  "  Joint  Purse  Agreement,"  was 
made  between  the  two  companies,  and  came  into 
operation  on  the  ist  July  1881,  whereby  the  two  com- 
panies received  a  fixed  percentage  on  the  profits  of 
their  dock  work. 

In  1 88 1  the  Directors  considered  the  dredging  out 
of  the  lagoon  behind  the  wharves  (site  of  Empire  Dock) 
and  making  a  canal  to  town,  the  existing  coal-sheds 
to  be  used  as  godowns. 

In  1 88 1  also  a  proposal  was  put  forward  by  the 
large  shareholders  in  England  that  they  should  be 
represented  by  a  Board  in  London.  This  matured  in 
1883,  when  a  number  of  gentlemen,  who  had  when  in 
Singapore  been  directors,  were  appointed  as  the  "  Lon- 
don Consulting  Committee."  With  the  view  of  develop- 
ing the  Company's  property,  the  Engineer-in-Chief  to 
the  Chinese  Government,  Mr.  D.  M.  Henderson,  was 
asked  in  1882  to  advise,  but  as  he  was  unable  to  visit 
Singapore,  it  was  decided  to  get  a  competent  engineer 
from  England  to  report.  Mr.  Du  Port,  who  was  asked, 
not  being  able  to  visit  Singapore,  Captain  McCallum 
(now  Sir  Henry)  made  certain  recommendations  for  a 
new  dock  and  wharf  extension  to  the  eastward,  also 
the  deepening  of  the  Victoria  Dock. 

In  1 884,  the  Municipality  having  raised  the  assessment 
on  the  Company's  property,  the  matter  was  taken  to 
the  Courts,  and  settled  by  the  Appeal  Court  upholding 
the  Chief  Justice's  decision  in  favour  of  the  Company. 

In  December  of  that  year  application  was  made  to 
the  Board  for  the  storage  of  Japanese  coal  at  the 
wharves.  This  was  at  first  refused,  but  afterwards 
granted  somewhat  tardily,  and  with  many  restrictions. 
The  Board,  believing  Japanese  coal  to  be  very  liable  to 
spontaneous  combustion,  their  cautious  action  can  very 
II — 2 


well  be  understood  with  the  memory  of  the  great  fire 
before  them. 

In  April  1885  the  London  Consulting  Committee 
advised  the  Board  that  the  time  had  arrived  when  a 
large  dock,  capable  of  taking  in  modern  warships,  should 
be  constructed  with  Government  assistance.  This  is 
the  first  mention  of  what  for  many  years  was  spoken  of 
as  the  "  Admiralty  Dock  Scheme,"  upon  which  Sir  John 
Coode  reported,  proposing  a  site  between  Jardine's 
wharf  and  St.  James. 

The  Borneo  Company's  wharf  and  property  were  pur- 
chased by  the  Company,  as  from  the  ist  July  1885,  for 
$1,000,000,  and  the  Manager  reported  that  the  wharf 
connecting  the  two  properties  was  completed  in  Novem- 
ber of  that  year. 

On  the  I  St  July  1886  the  London  Agency  of  the 
Board  was  established.  We  have  the  first  mention  of 
what  was  to  be  the  Straits  Trading  Company  on  the 
8th  July  1887,  when  the  Directors  decided  to  lease  part 
of  the  Bon-Accord  property  (purchased  in  1882)  to 
Messrs.  Sword  and  Muhlinghaus. 

At  the  beginning  of  1889  the  Tanjong  Pagar  octopus 
laid  one  of  its  tentacles  on  the  Slipway  Company  at 
Tanjong  Rhu  by  commencing  to  buy  its  shares,  and 
shortly  after  another  one  on  Prye  Dock,  Penang,  by 
leasing  that  property  in  conjunction  with  the  New 
Harbour  Company. 

The  Trustees  of  the  late  Mr.  Edward  Boustead  having 
offered  to  build  the  "  Boustead  Institute,"  the  Directors 
not  having  a  suitable  site  on  their  own  property,  pur- 
chased the  site  on  which  the  building  now  stands,  and 
handed  it  over  to  the  Trustees  in  April  1891. 

The  Singapore  Tramway  Company,  whose  lines  had 
been  laid  down  in  1884,  not  having  proved  a  success, 
the  Directors  were  approached  as  to  the  purchase  of  its 
Collyer  Quay  to  the  Docks  Section,  which  the  Directors 
did  not  entertain  ;  but  in  December  1889  they  purchased 
the  whole  undertaking  for  $186,000  on  joint  account 
with  the  New  Harbour  Dock  Company. 


A  proposal  in  1891  to  form  a  Volunteer  Company 
amongst  the  European  employees  of  the  Company  for 
the  defence  of  the  Company's  property  did  not  mature, 
the  men  being  of  opinion  that  to  be  efficient  too  much 
of  their  rest  time  would  be  taken  up,  which  after  their 
arduous  duties  during  the  day  in  the  sun  was  a  ne- 

The  tramways  proving  unremunerative,  it  was  decided 
to  cease  running  the  Rochore  Section  at  the  end  of 
1892.  The  competition  of  the  rikishas  proving  keen, 
the  expense  of  upkeep  of  rolling  stock  and  permanent 
way  being  heavy,  electrical  traction  had  been  considered, 
but  not  found  to  be  sufficiently  attractive  to  warrant 
further  expenditure.  The  Collyer  Quay  and  Keppel 
Harbour  Section  was  kept  running,  as  it  was  considered 
of  some  use  in  facilitating  the  transport  of  goods  to 
town,  until  the  ist  June  1894,  when  the  whole  service 
was  discontinued,  and  the  rolling  stock  and  plant 
disposed  of. 

In  April  1894  the  Directors,  being  urged  by  several 
of  their  largest  shippers,  started  a  lighterage  depart- 
ment, which  has  ever  since  proved  a  very  unremunera- 
tive branch  of  the  undertaking.  It  was  handicapped  at 
the  start  by  several  of  the  lighters  being  old,  the  repairs 
were  heavy  and  have  always  absorbed  any  profits  that 
the  working  accounts  show  and  a  great  deal  more. 
The  department  has  been  continued  by  the  present 
Board  as  an  adjunct  to  the  port's  facilities,  but  it  is  a 
very  questionable  policy. 

The  electric  light  was  extended  to  the  wharf  in  1897, 
much  to  the  benefit  of  working  vessels. 

In  September  1897  plans  and  specifications  were  sub- 
mitted by  Mr.  J.  E.  Tuik  and  Mr.  Hartwig  for  a  large  new 
graving  dock,  estimated  to  cost  ;^305 ,000.  It  was  decided 
to  ask  the  Admiralty  to  contribute  85  per  cent,  of  the 
cost.  The  site  proposed  was  to  the  west  of  the  Victoria 
Dock,  afterwards  changed  to  the  east  of  the  Albert 
Dock.  Negotiations  were  opened  with  the  Admiralty, 
and    continued    until    1899,  when    no    agreement    was 


arrived  at,  the  Company's  proposals  not  being  accept- 
able to  the  Admiralty. 

At  the  general  meeting  held  on  the  28th  February 
1899  a  proposal  was  laid  before  the  shareholders,  that 
as  the  value  of  the  Company's  assets  was  greatly  in 
excess  of  the  nominal  capital,  a  new  Company,  registered 
under  the  same  name  as  the  old  Company,  be  formed  to 
take  over  the  property,  at  a  price  of  $3,000,000,  as  from 
the  I  St  January  1899.  This  was  unanimously  approved 
of  and  carried  out,  the  shareholders  of  the  old  Company 
receiving  two  shares  in  the  new  Company  in  respect  of 
every  share  held  in  the  old  Company. 

In  1900  the  Company  completed  the  purchase  of 
practically  all  the  land  known  as  the  "  East  Reclama- 
tion "  from  the  liquidators  of  the  Tanjong  Pagar  Land 
Company,  who  had  reclaimed  this  area  by  depositing 
the  spoil  from  the  land  near  Mount  Palmer  during  the 
construction  of  Anson  Road. 

Although  the  joint  purse  arrangement  between  the 
Company  and  the  New  Harbour  Dock  Company  had 
worked  for  years  without  trouble,  it  was  decided  to 
purchase  the  New  Harbour  Dock  Company  (it  has 
been  called  an  amalgamation,  but  purchase  is  a  more 
correct  definition  of  the  arrangement),  whereby  the  New 
Harbour  Dock  Company  received  7,000  $100  paid-up 
shares  of  the  Company  and  $1,050,000  5  per  cent, 
five-year  debentures  ;  also  $50,000  for  expenses.  The 
purchase  was  as  from  the  ist  July  1899. 

The  Prye  Dock  property  was  purchased  as  from  the 
I  St  January  1899,  there  being  an  option  in  the  lease 
allowing  of  this. 

During  1899  the  lack  of  facilities  to  deal  with  the 
increased  trade  of  the  port  exercised  the  mind  of  the 
Directors,  and  schemes  of  extension  were  again  con- 
sidered ;  the  dredging  of  the  lagoon  behind  the  main 
wharf  and  building  wharves  there  was  considered  pre- 
ferable to  an  extension  to  the  eastward.  An  engineer 
was  asked  for  from  London  to  report,  and  early  in  1900 
Mr.  Edward  Manisty  arrived  in  Singapore  (in  January), 


and  was  asked  to  advise  as  to  an  extension  of  8,000  feet 
of  wharfage. 

The  New  Harbour  Dock  Company  having  previously 
commenced  to  excavate  a  dock  on  the  site  of  "  Clough- 
ton's  Hole  "  (the  old  original  mud  dock),  it  was  decided 
to  complete  it,  the  dock  to  be  of  the  following  dimen- 
sions :  length  500  feet,  width  of  entrance  65  feet,  and 
depth  on  the  sill  35  feet  H.W.O.S.T.  This  work  was 
afterwards  abandoned,  and  the  excavation  was  filled  in. 
The  shipbuilding  sheds  now  occupy  the  site. 

At  the  end  of  1900  the  Board  again  decided  to  ask 
London  to  send  out  an  engineer  to  advise  as  to  mechani- 
cal appliances  for  handling  cargo.  Mr.  Thomas  Scott 
resigned  the  Chairmanship  of  the  Board  on  the  2nd  May 
1 90 1,  on  retiring  from  Singapore  ;  unfortunately  his 
time  of  leisure,  after  many  years  of  strenuous  work, 
was  short,  as  he  died  at  Brechin  on  the  28th  June 

In  December  1901  the  head  offices  were  removed 
from  Collyer  Quay  to  the  new  building  at  Tanjong 
Pagar.  The  first  meeting  of  the  Board  was  held  in  the 
new  offices  on  the  27th  December  1901. 

During  the  'Nineties  it  became  very  evident  that  the 
shipping  facilities  at  Tanjong  Pagar  were  totally 
inadequate  to  meet  the  growing  requirements.  From 
time  to  time  various  schemes  were  evolved  to  remedy 
matters.  There  existed  a  chronic  state  of  congested 
godowns,  consignees  not  being  able  to  obtain  delivery 
of  their  cargoes.  A  similar  block  of  the  roads  existed 
behind  the  godowns,  as  all  cargo  to  town  or  for  tran- 
shipment had  to  be  moved  by  bullock-carts,  often  leading 
to  perfect  chaos.  Proposals  to  extend  to  the  east 
alternated  with  the  idea  of  dredging  behind  the  wharves 
like  the  pendulum  of  a  clock.  Mr.  Manisty's  eastern 
scheme  was  replaced  by  the  Dock  Manager's  proposals, 
for  which  a  dredger  was  ordered,  but  before  its  delivery 
the  scheme  had  changed  to  an  eastern  one  again,  on 
which  the  dredger  was  put  to  work  in  material  for 
which  it  had  not  been  built  and  was  totally  unfitted  to 


deal  with.  For  this  vacillating  policy  the  difference  of 
opinion  between  the  Singapore  and  the  London  Con- 
sulting Committee  may  have  been  somewhat  responsible  ; 
the  former  wanted  relief  as  soon  as  possible,  the  latter 
required  a  definite  scheme  which  would  allow  of  gradual 
extension  and  of  a  permanent  construction.  Mr. 
Manisty  recommended  a  scheme  of  wharves  to  the  east- 
ward providing  for  10,500  linear  feet  of  wharfage  at  an 
estimated  cost  of  ;£i,oi 7,000.  He  also  recommended 
the  construction  of  a  large  graving  dock. 

After  the  retirement  of  Mr.  Scott  it  was  decided  to 
appoint  a  Managing  Director.  Mr.  George  Rutherford 
arrived  in  Singapore  on  the  13th  February  1902  to  take 
up  the  appointment.  His  time  was  all  too  short  to 
make  his  high  quahties  and  ability  felt,  as  he  was 
murdered  by  burglars  in  his  residence  on  the  loth  April 

Mr.  Nicholson  arrived  on  the  nth  January  1903  as 
Managing  Director.  His  principal  instructions  received 
from  the  London  Committee  were  to  draw  up  a  scheme 
of  extension  which  would  be  the  basis  of  development. 

In  order  to  become  familiar  with  the  requirements  of 
the  port  he  did  not  issue  his  report  until  January  1904. 
The  scheme  advocated  in  the  report  was  the  construc- 
tion of  a  dock  in  the  lagoon  behind  the  wharves,  the 
reconstruction  of  the  wharves,  and  the  construction 
of  a  graving  dock,  involving  an  estimated  expenditure 
of  $12,078,153.  This  report  brought  the  differences 
between  the  Board  of  Directors  and  the  London  Com- 
mittee to  a  head.  The  scheme  being  adopted  by  the 
Board,  the  Chairman  advocated  the  issue  of  the  report 
to  the  shareholders  immediately ;  but  the  London 
Committee  were  of  opinion  that  as  it  involved  a  very 
large  expenditure,  it  should  not  be  issued  unless  accom- 
panied by  a  scheme  showing  how  the  money  was  to  be 
raised.  On  this  difference  of  opinion  the  Chairman 
resigned.  The  Government  had  been  approached  for 
a  loan,  and  the  outcome  of  this  was  that  before  taking 
any  further  action  the  Colonial  Office  referred  the  scheme 


to  their  Consulting  Engineers,  Messrs.  Coode,  Son  and 
Matthews.  This  reference  resulted  in  Mr.  Nicholson 
proceeding  to  England,  and  in  conjunction  with  Messrs. 
Coode,  Son  and  Matthews  a  joint  report  was  issued  in 
October  1904,  embracing  the  first  report  in  its  main 
features.  The  estimated  expenditure  for  the  work 
was  :  wet  dock,  ;^790,ooo  ;  reconstruction  of  wharves, 
£740,000;  total,  ;^i, 530,000.  A  separate  estimate  was 
made  for  the  graving  dock,  the  time  of  completion 
being  fifteen  years. 

On  the  I  St  October  1904  a  conference  took  place 
in  London  between  officials  of  the  Colonial  Office  and 
members  of  the  London  Committee  on  the  question  of 
carrying  out  the  works  proposed  in  the  above  report, 
and  at  their  meeting  we  had  the  first  mention  of  the 
word  "  expropriation,"  should  the  Company  not  take 
definite  steps  to  provide  increased  facilities. 

Matters  now  moved  rapidly.  On  the  21st  December 
1904  a  telegram  was  received  in  Singapore  from  the 
London  Committee  stating  that  they  had  been  notified 
by  the  Colonial  Office  that  Government  had  decided  to 
expropriate  the  Company's  property,  and  that  faihng  a 
settlement  the  value  would  be  decided  by  arbitration. 

On  the  17th  January  1905  an  interview  took  place 
between  His  Excellency  the  Governor,  Sir  John  Ander- 
son, K.C.M.G.,  and  three  of  the  Directors,  Messrs. 
Waddell,  Shelford,  and  Nicholson,  when  His  Excellency 
proposed  $240  per  share  as  a  fair  price.  The  Directors 
suggested  $700  per  share  as  nearer  the  value.  The 
shares  then  stood  in  the  market  about  $230. 

The  Ordinance  to  expropriate  passed  the  Legislative 
Council  on  the  7th  April  1905.  As  no  satisfactory 
agreement  was  arrived  at  as  to  the  value,  arbitrators 
were  appointed  :  Sir  Michael  Hicks-Beach,  P.C,  M.P., 
Umpire  ;  Sir  Edward  Boyle,  Bart.,  K.C.,  Arbitrator  for 
the  Company  ;  James  Charles  IngHs,  Esq.,  Arbitrator 
for  the  Government.  Lord  Robert  Cecil,  K.C.,  was  the 
leading  Counsel  for  the  Company,  and  Mr.  Balfour 
Browne,  K.C.,  the  leading  Counsel  for  Government. 


The  Court  sat  in  Singapore  from  the  i6th  to 
the  26th  October  1905.  The  Umpire  issued  his  award 
on  the  4th  July  1906,  giving  a  sum  which,  after  all 
liquidation  expenses  were  paid,  amounted  to  %y6i.y6 
per  share. 

A  contract  was  made  on  the  loth  February  1908  with 
Messrs.  John  Aird  and  Co.,  of  London,  to  construct  the 
wet  dock   and   reconstruct   the   main   wharves,  as  re- 
commended in  the  report  referred  to,  for  the  sum  of 
;^998,700.     The  wet  dock  was  to  be   completed  within 
two  years  and  the  wharf  in  four  years,  the  Engineers' 
(Messrs.  Coode,  Son  and  Matthews)  and  Mr  J.  R.  Nichol- 
son's  estimate   for   the   work   being  ;^i, 5 18,000.     This 
dock,  879  feet  long,  was  opened  by  His  Excellency  the 
Governor,  Sir  Arthur  Young,  K.C.M.G.,  and  named  the 
King's  Dock,  on  the  26th  August  191 3.     Another  con- 
tract was  made,  on  the  ist  January  1909,  with  Messrs. 
Topham,  Jones  and  Railton,  for  the  construction  of  a 
large  graving  dock  for  the  sum  of  ;^342,794,  to  be  com- 
pleted in  three  years.     Towards  the  end  of  1909  the 
contractors  for  the  wet  dock,  Messrs.  John  Aird  and  Co., 
raised  difficulties  as  to  their  contract,  alleging  that  it 
was  a  physical  impossibility  to  carry  out  some  of  the 
walls  in  trenches,  and  consequently  stopped  work  on 
them.     After  prolonged   negotiation,   endeavouring   to 
get  the  Contractors  to  proceed  with  the  work,  a  demand 
for  arbitration  under  the  contract  was  served  by  the 
Board  on  the  Contractors  in  October  19 10.     An  action 
was  brought  in  London  by  the  Contractors,  and  com- 
menced on  the  30th  January  191 1,  to  stay  arbitration 
proceedings,  during  which  they  charged  the  Engineers 
with  misrepresentation  in  the  drawings,  and  it  became 
evident  that  they  did  not  intend  to  proceed  with  the 
contract,  and  thereupon  the  Board  determined  it,  and 
the  action  was  directed  to  stand  over.     The  hearing  was 
reopened  on  the  28th  October,  and  lasted  to  the  20th 
December  191 2. 

The  Interlocutory  Judgment  was  delivered  by  Mr. 
Justice  Parker  on  the  20th  December  191 2,  and  com- 



pletely  exonerated  the  Engineers  from  any  misrepre- 
sentation. As  long  as  the  Contractors  persisted  in  their 
charge  of  fraud  it  was  impossible  to  enter  into  nego- 
tiation with  them,  and  on  the  judgment  being  given  a 
settlement  of  their  claim  was  arrived  at  by  consultation 
between  Mr.  Thomas  Cuthbertson,  Mr.  Malcolm  Aird, 
and  Mr.  J.  R.  Nicholson. 

The  Board  having  seized  the  Contractors'  plant  as  a 
result  of  the  decision  to  cancel  the  contract,  carried  on 
the  work  themselves  until  a  new  contract  was  made,  on 
the  6th  June  191 1,  with  Messrs.  Topham,  Jones  and 
Railton,  who  successfully  completed  the  whole  of  the 

The  first  ship  to  enter  the  new  dock  was  the  s.s. 
Valdura,  on  the  2nd  June  19 14.  His  Excellency  the 
Governor,  Sir  Arthur  Young,  G.C.M.G.,  on  the  25th 
October  191 7,  named  the  new  dock  the  Empire  Dock, 
in  commemoration  of  the  completion  of  the  whole 
scheme,  including  the  dock  and  the  reconstruction 
of  the  wharves,  the  final  certificate  for  payment  to  the 
Contractors  having  been  signed  on  the  24th  May  191 7, 
Empire  Day. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  the  early  payments  of  the 
Company.  The  minutes  of  the  i8th  December  1867 
say  : 

"  The  following  statement  of  the  employees  of  the 
Company  and  their  salaries  was  examined. 

Mr.  E.  M.  Smith  . 

Mr.  W.  J.  Du  Port,  ;  per 

of  exchange 
Mr.  R.  H.  Smith  . 
Mr.  Hughes 
Mr.  P.  Reutens    . 
Keat,  Chinese  clerk 
Achong,  foreman  carpenter 
„  „  blacksmith 

Ferry,  engine-driver 
Tone,  engine-driver 
Achong,  machine  . 
Likman,  machine 

.    $400 
annum  at  current  rate 














Friday,  machine  .... 

.        $IO 



Ahque.  coppersmith 


Aheng,  fireman     .... 


Ah  Seh,  fireman   .... 


Beng  Sue,  fireman 


John  Arrais,  apprentice  syce 


I  head  syce           .... 


4  syces  @  $5        • 


2  grass-cutters      .... 


Pencharee,  Mandore 


Tay,  2nd  Mandore 



Mr.  Wells    .... 

2  Chinese  clerks  at  |20  each 
I  Chinese  clerk 

3  godown  coohes  @  $8  each 
6  wharf  coolies  @  $6  each     . 

4  Malay  coolies  @  $6  each    . 

1  Serang  (Dolay) 

2  engine-drivers  @  I9  and  $7 
Firemen  .... 
2  watermen 


Mr.  G.  Ridings     . 

Mr.  P.  P.  W.  Oliveiro    . 

2  messengers  @  $5  and  I4 











SINGAPORE,    1ST    JANUARY    1869 

On  every  ton  of  cargo  landed  or  shipped 

over  the  wharf   .  .  .  .  -25    cents 

On   every  ton   of   general  cargo   taken   on 
board  from  lighters  while  alongside  the 

wharf 12J    „ 

On  treasure       ......      2^ 

On  opium  per  chest  .  .  .  "        .10 

On  horses  and  cattle,  each  .         •         '25 


per  cent. 



Store  rent  on  coal  is  4  cents  per  ton  per  month.  Coal  is  stored,  with 
ventilators  through  the  heaps,  in  sheds  of  small  width. 

Coolie  hire  discharging  coal  ships  is  charged  for  at  the  rate  of  12 J  cents 
per  ton,  and  storing,  i2|  cents  per  ton.  Removing  from  sheds  and  putting 
on  board  ships,  25  cents  per  ton. 

Steamers  requiring  great  despatch  can  be  supplied  with  coolies  at  50 
cents  per  day  and  75  cents  per  night  for  working  general  cargo. 

The  Company  is  open  to  make  special  arrangements  with  consignees  of 
coal  to  rent  their  sheds  at  a  monthly  fixed  charge. 

Coal  stowed  by  the  Company  is  not  covered  by  insurance. 

The  list  of  Managers  is  : 

G.  Lyon,  4th  February  1864  to  30th  October  1865, 

1  year  9  months. 

C.  H.  H.  Wilsone,  Secretary  and  General  Business 
Manager,  29th  July  1865  to  ist  November  1867, 

2  years  3  months. 

E.  M.  Smith,  ist  November  1867  to  30th  June  1881, 

13  years  7  months. 
J.  Blair,  ist  July  1882  to  30th  April  1896,  13  years 

9  months. 
W.  M.  Robertson,  ist  May  1896  to  ist  May  1898, 

2  years. 
W.  E.  Moulsdale,  i8th  June  1898  to  6th  April  1900, 

I  year  9J  months. 
J.  Sellar,  14th  November  1900  to  12th  May  1907, 

6  years  7  months. 
G.  Rutherford,  13th  February  1902  to  loth  April 

1902,  2  months. 
J.   R.   Nicholson,   C.M.G.,    12th   January    1903   to 
30th  April  191 8,  15  years  4  months. 
The  list  of  Chairmen  of  the  Company  shows  how  much 
Mr.  T.  Scott  had  to  do  with  the  concern.     He  was  in 
office    1865,    1867-72,    1881-3,    1884-5,    1888,    1895-6, 
1898,  and  1900.     Mr.  J.  Finlayson's  years  were  1883-4, 
1887,  1889,  1890-94,  1895,  while  his  partner,  Mr.  J.  R. 
Cuthbertson,  four  times  filled  the  chair.     In  continuous 
service  Mr.  J.  R.  Nicholson  easily  comes  first,  1904-18, 
with  a  very  short  interval  when  Mr.  W.  P.  Waddell 
was  Chairman  in  1905. 






Rate  of 


Dividend  per  annum. 


Paid  up. 

1865  . 
































































































































































1897  . 





7%  plus  $2  bonus 
7%  plus  $3  bonus 

1898  . 





7%  plus  |3  bonus 

1899  . 





A'-'  /o 

1900  . 





I901  . 





1902  . 





6%  plus  $1  bonus 
6%  plus  $1  bonus 











6%  June  half-year 


20%  Deer,  half-year 

Harbour  Improvements 

A  report  dated  the  loth  December  1901  was  made 
by  Messrs.  Coode,  Son  and  Matthews  on  Harbour  Im- 


provement  at  Singapore.  It  recommended  the  con- 
struction of  breakwaters  totalling  13,030  feet  in  length 
enclosing  the  harbour,  and  having  three  openings. 
These  breakwaters  were  afterwards  struck  out  of  the 
scheme,  and  an  inner  breakwater  5,650  feet  long  con- 
structed to  protect  the  wharves  at  Teluk  Ayer  recom- 
mended to  be  constructed  in  the  report.  A  contract 
was  let,  on  the  9th  May  1907,  to  Sir  John  Jackson, 
Limited,  to  construct  some  of  the  works  recommended 
in  the  report. 

The  wharf  at  Teluk  Ayer  was  originally  to  be  4,990  feet 
long,  but  as  the  work  progressed  it  was  found  that  near 
the  centre  the  depth  of  mud  was  so  great  that  there 
was  difficulty  in  carrying  out  the  cylinder  sinking,  and 
as  the  result  of  a  Committee  of  Engineers  in  London 
reporting  in  March  191 1,  850  feet  of  wharf  was  left  out, 
and  so  formed  an  entrance  to  the  tidal  basin  proposed 
by  the  Committee  to  be  constructed  behind  the  wharf. 

During  191 7  an  embankment  was  constructed, 
carrying  a  road  36  feet  wide,  also  a  railway  across  the 
bay  between  the  East  Reclamation  and  the  Teluk  Ayer 
wharves,  thus  connecting  them  with  the  Tanjong  Pagar 
and  the  Federated  Malay  States  railway  system. 

Plans  have  been  got  out  and  estimates  obtained  for 
the  construction  of  a  wharf  between  the  King's  Dock 
entrance  and  the  P.  and  O.  Co.'s  property.  This  wharf 
it  is  proposed  to  fit  with  mechanical  conveyors  for  the 
rapid  handling  of  coal,  but  owing  to  the  circumstances 
brought  about  by  the  War  the  construction  has  been 

SIR    JOHN    NICHOLSON,    KT.,    C.M.G. 

Mr.  John  Rumney  Nicholson  (as  Singapore  knew 
him)  is  from  Cumberland,  with  all  the  force  of  character 
of  a  fell  man.  He  was  born  at  Langwathby,  Cumber- 
land, went  to  school  at  St.  Bees,  and  from  there  to  the 
College  of  Science,  Newcastle.  Having  served  his  term  in 
the  works  of  Black,  Hawthorn  and  Co.,  of  Gateshead,  he 
became  Resident    Engineer   of  the  Newcastle  Electric 


Supply  Company  when  he  was  twenty-two  years  of  age. 
He  then  had  a  spell  of  five  years  on  the  Quebrada  and 
South- Western  Railway,  Venezuela,  where  he  learned 
Spanish,  and  incidentally  a  good  deal  about  the  handhngof 
men  other  than  British.  Back  again  home  in  1 895 ,  he  was 
Resident  Engineer  of  the  Port  Talbot  Dockfor  three  years, 
after  which  he  became  Chief  Engineer  to  the  important 
Bridgewater  Trust.  He  came  to  Singapore  as  Managing 
Director  of  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Company  in  1902,  then 
became  Chairman,  and  when  the  Singapore  Harbour 
Board  was  formed  he  was  appointed  Chairman  and  Chief 
Engineer,  holding  the  post  of  Chairman  for  over  fifteen 
years.  From  the  time  he  began  to  study  the  port  with 
an  eye  to  its  requirements,  on  his  arrival,  there  has  been 
no  more  strenuous  worker.  His  first  report  involved 
works  needing  an  expenditure  of  over  twelve  million 
dollars,  and  on  action  which  was  to  be  taken  in  this 
matter  the  then  Chairman  resigned.  Mr.  Nicholson 
proceeded  to  London  for  consultation  with  the  Colonial 
Office  engineers,  Messrs.  Coode,  Son  and  Matthews,  and 
a  joint  report  was  issued  in  1904.  The  expropriation  of 
the  concern  took  some  time,  during  which  the  Engineer- 
in-chief  was  perfecting  his  plans,  all  the  while  he  was 
carrying  on  the  work  of  the  port  and  advising  the  Govern- 
ment. It  was  not  till  1908  that  construction  of  the 
Empire  Dock  was  commenced,  and  in  less  than  two  years 
afterwards  began  the  troublesome  and  difficult  task  of 
setthng  the  difficulties  with  Messrs.  John  Aird  and  Co., 
the  Contractors.  The  work  on  the  dock  was  not  stopped, 
and  this  naturally  meant  more  work  for  the  Chief 
Engineer  and  the  resident  staff.  But  "  dogged  does  it," 
and  Mr.  Nicholson  carried  through  his  schemes  success- 
fully in  less  than  the  time  at  first  estimated,  and  when 
he  retired  in  191 8  he  could  look  round  with  pride  on  his 
work,  which  is  going  to  stand  for  a  long  time,  and  disprove 
many  of  the  criticisms  directed  against  it. 

The  man  who  could  carry  out  this  great  work  was 
bound  to  meet  with  criticism,  and  it  required  a  vast 
amount  of  self-control  not  to  suggest  that  the  critics 


II.  20l 


did  not  know  what  they  were  talking  about.  "  J.  R." 
may  not  always  have  succeeded  in  keeping  his  patience  ; 
but  harm  seldom  comes  from  knowing  what  one  wants 
done,  and  then  going  straight  to  do  it,  especially 
when  the  result  proves  so  satisfactory,  as  in  the  case  of 
his  work.  Although  conversant  with  every  detail  of 
what  was  going  on,  the  Chief  Engineer  liked  to  have  a 
clear  desk,  as  he  said  it  wasn't  his  duty  to  tell  others 
what  they  had  to  do  (though  he  did).  He  also  had  a 
somewhat  rare  quality  for  an  engineer,  a  keen  commer- 
cial instinct.  The  business  of  the  engineer  is  often  said 
to  be  "  common  sense  applied  to  matter."  And  few 
engineers  will  admit  that  a  job  is  impossible  if  you  are 
prepared  to  spend  the  necessary  money  on  it.  Mr. 
Nicholson  has  the  "  common  sense  "  applied  to  matter 
and  also  the  less  common  sense  of  knowing  whether 
a  work  was  worth  doing  from  a  commercial  point  of 
view.  This  may  have  been  the  result  of  the  double 
training  he  had,  as  a  member  of  the  Institute  of  Civil 
Engineers  and  also  of  the  Institute  of  Mechanical 
Engineers.  Mr.  Nicholson  was  created  a  Companion  of 
the  Order  of  St.  Michael  and  St.  George  in  19 14,  and 
was  presented  with  his  insignia  in  the  Council  Chamber. 
His  strenuous  work  through  the  War  will  always  be 
remembered,  and  it  was  rather  characteristic  of  him 
that  in  the  mutiny  he  was  one  of  the  first  to  be  sworn  in 
as  a  special  constable,  and  took  his  turn  of  duty  with  the 
rest.  Mrs.  Nicholson,  who  is  a  daughter  of  the  late 
Sir  Herbert  Croft,  Bart.,  resided  almost  continuously 
in  Singapore  with  her  husband,  and  there  were  few 
pleasanter  houses  to  visit  than  Holme  Chase,  where  they 
lived.  She  was  as  unstinting  in  her  work  for  Singapore 
as  was  her  husband,  and  among  other  good  work  she 
helped  in  the  foundation  of  the  Union  Jack  Club.  She 
was  made  a  member  of  the  Order  of  the  British  Empire 
for  her  services  during  the  War. 

The  Birthday  Honours  Hst  of  1919  contained  the 
name  of  "  Mr.  John  Rumney  Nicholson,  C.M.G.,  to  be 
a  Knight  Bachelor." 




By  C.  W.  Darbishire,  formerly  Chairman  of  the  Chamber  of 
Commerce  and  Member  of  the  Legislative  Council. 


Visit  any  Malay  village  on  the  coast  of  Singapore,  say 
Pasir  Panjang  or  Bedok,  and  you  have  a  very  good  idea 
of  what  the  port  of  Singapore  was  like  a  hundred  years 
ago — a  group  of  primitive  huts  upon  the  shore,  a  few 
fishermen  with  their  boats  and  tackle.  True,  it  was  the 
seat  of  the  Tumunggong,  a  higher  official  than  the  usual 
village  headman,  but  his  residence  was  by  no  means 
an  imposing  one.  Of  commerce,  in  the  ordinary  sense 
of  the  word,  there  was  none. 

It  was  Sir  Stamford  Raffles  who  first  saw  the  enormous 
possibilities  lying  in  the  heart  of  that  little  Malay  village. 
He  dreamed  of  a  great  port  to  rival  those  of  the  Dutch, 
of  a  world-wide  trade,  of  a  gateway  for  the  British 
Empire  ;  and,  with  what  seems  like  the  touch  of  a 
magician's  wand,  his  dream  came  true.  Refer  to  any 
of  the  records  of  those  who  touched  at  Singapore  in  the 
first  years  of  its  existence,  and  one  cannot  but  be  struck 
by  its  extraordinarily  sudden  and  rapid  development,  and 
the  great  attraction  which  the  place  was  soon  to  have 
for  traders  from  all  parts  of  the  Eastern  Archipelago, 
turning  it,  in  the  course  of  a  few  years,  into  a  thriving 
and  prosperous  port. 

Before  the  founding  of  Singapore  the  only  British 
centres  in   this   part   of  the  world  were   Penang  and 

HON.   MR.   C.  W.  DARBISHIR^. 

n.  22] 


Bencoolen.  The  Dutch  controlled  the  ways  to  China 
and  Japan  through  the  Straits  of  Malacca  and  the  Straits 
of  Sunda ;  they  headed  us  off  at  Malacca  and  Batavia  ; 
in  fact,  the  whole  archipelago  was  practically  in  their 
hands.  A  short-sighted  British  Government  had  been 
responsible  for  Holland's  supremacy  in  these  Eastern 
waters  ;  but,  nothing  daunted,  Raffles  was  determined 
upon  a  last  great  effort  to  gain  for  England  a  firm  footing 
in  the  Far  East. 

The  British  Settlement  at  Singapore  filled  a  long-felt 
want,  though  there  were  few  then  in  authority  who 
recognised  this,  or  fully  reahsed  its  importance.  Raffles, 
who  had  made  the  study  of  Eastern  politics  and  trade 
his  lifework,  alone  understood  what  was  required  ;  he 
knew  that,  to  use  his  own  words,  "  we  must  set  up  shop 
next  to  the  Dutch,"  and  that  Singapore  was  the  place 
in  which  to  do  it. 

There  had  been  other  places  in  the  mind  of  Raffles 
before  he  decided  on  Singapore  for  the  fulfilment  of  his 
purpose  ;  he  writes  of  Simangka  Bay,  for  instance,  as 
an  entrepot  to  rival  Batavia,  and  also  of  the  importance 
of  Rhio  on  the  island  of  Bintang.  But  eventually  it 
was  Singapore  that  was  decided  upon,  in  spite  of  con- 
siderable opposition.  Bengal  and  London  were  doubtful, 
while  the  Government  of  Penang  was  of  opinion  that  the 
time  had  passed  for  obtaining  a  station  to  the  eastward, 
and  that  the  interests  of  Penang  Island  would  be  en- 

The  opposition  he  received  would  have  disheartened 
most  men,  but  Raffles  was  no  ordinary  man.  It  was 
in  the  midst  of  this  discouragement  that  we  find  him 
writing  on  the  31st  January  1819:  **  If  I  am  deserted 
now,  I  must  fain  return  to  Bencoolen  and  become  phi- 
losopher." He  was  not  actually  deserted,  but  he  got  no 
support  ;  he  was  practically  left  to  work  out  his  theories, 
and  to  stand  or  fall  by  the  results.  The  British  Govern- 
ment's hands,  however,  were  soon  forced  by  the  phe- 
nomenal success  of  this  great  man's  stroke  of  genius. 

In  the  first  year  we  find  merchants  collecting  fast. 



According  to  Farquhar,  "  nothing  could  exceed  the 
rising  trade  and  general  prosperity  of  the  infant  Colony  ; 
it  was  already  one  of  the  first  ports  of  the  East."  We 
are  fortunate  in  having  more  than  one  narrative  to 
which  we  can  refer  in  our  quest  for  some  idea  of  the  aspect 
of  the  port  and  of  the  conditions  of  its  trade  in  those 
early  days.  We  find  a  chorus  of  wonder  and  admiration  ; 
one  and  all,  these  writers  marvel  at  the  busy  scene  in  the 
harbour  and  at  the  still  greater  stir  and  bustle  which 
confronted  one  on  landing  at  one  of  the  quays  in  the 
river  mouth.  Farquhar  tells  us  that  merchants  of  all 
descriptions  were  "  congregating  here  fast,"  and  that 
their  one  complaint  was  the  lack  of  more  ground  to  build 
upon.  During  the  first  two  and  a  half  years,  2,889 
vessels  entered  and  cleared  from  the  port,  383  being 
owned  and  commanded  by  Europeans.  In  1820  the 
town  was  rising  most  rapidly  in  importance  and  wealth  ; 
it  was  already,  according  to  its  enthusiastic  founder, 
"  a  great  and  flourishing  city."  Raffles  goes  on  to  tell 
us  that  it  continued  to  rise  as  rapidly  as  the  out-stations 
of  the  Dutch  declined ;  and  there  are  other  witnesses 
to  the  damage  done  to  Dutch  trade — at  that  time 
hampered  by  innumerable  duties  and  restrictions — by 
the  opening  of  the  great  free  port  of  Singapore. 

The  neighbouring  Dutch  port  of  Rhio  lapsed  into  a 
somnolent  state  ;  even  the  40,000  Chinese  on  the  island 
of  Bintang,  where  Rhio  lies,  planters  of  pepper  and 
gambler,  shipped  the  greater  part  of  their  produce  from 
the  northern  part  of  the  island  to  Singapore  :  they 
preferred  the  free  port  of  Singapore  to  seUing  to  the 
Dutch,  and  they  would  not  visit  Rhio  because  there  were 
no  enterprising  merchants  there.  In  1833  Earl  tells 
us  that  there  was  no  longer  any  appearance  of  commercial 
activity  at  Rhio  ;  he  saw  but  one  solitary  ship  lying  at 
anchor  near  the  town,  not  a  soul  stirring  on  board,  and 
the  long  wooden  jetty  occupied  only  by  the  native  crew 
of  a  Dutch  war  prahu,  lazily  mending  their  sails.  In 
Singapore  everything  was  different ;  even  the  gaol,  we 
are  told,  was  a  strong  and  cheerful-looking  building, 


though    it    had    the    misfortune  to    be   situated    in    a 

To  "  the  magic  of  free  trade  "  was  what  Raffles 
attributed  the  unprecedented  success  of  his  venture. 
But  for  the  first  few  years  he  was  troubled  lest  all  his 
work  might  be  in  vain  ;  there  was  still  opposition  from 
home,  from  India  and  from  Penang.  The  East  India 
Company,  with  monopoly  bred  in  their  very  bones,  could 
not  tolerate  the  free  and  open-handed  way  in  which 
Singapore  invited  all  to  its  shores.  Nevertheless,  the 
Colony  steadily  grew,  its  trade  increased,  in  spite  of 
opposition  and  jealousy.  "  Considering  all  the  disad- 
vantages under  which  Singapore  has  been  placed," 
Raffles  writes,  "  the  want  of  confidence  in  its  retention 
even  for  a  month,  the  opposition  of  the  English  Settle- 
ment of  Penang  and  of  the  Dutch,  a  stronger  proof  of  its 
commercial  importance  could  hardly  be  afforded." 

We  can  see  him  in  those  dark  days,  though  fretting 
and  tortured  with  doubt,  his  indomitable  soul  aglow 
with  hope,  penning  the  lines  which  follow  :  "  What 
may  we  not  expect  hereafter  when  the  British  merchant 
has  fair  play  for  his  industry  and  speculation  ?  "  The 
British  merchant  did  not  disappoint  him.  The  East 
India  Company's  monopoly  of  the  Indian  trade  had  been 
broken  in  18 14,  the  public  was  interested  and  excited, 
and  there  was  powerful  mercantile  feeling  in  favour 
of  Raffles.  It  is  recorded  authoritatively  that  ''  it 
was  most  probably  to  the  mercantile  interest  excited  in 
favour  of  Singapore  that  we  are  indebted  for  its 

Raffles  had  his  way;  in  1822  the  Settlement  was 
recognised  by  Great  Britain,  and  in  1824  Holland 
acknowledged  by  treaty  the  British  right  to  the  island. 
From  that  day  to  this  Singapore  has  never  looked  back  ; 
there  have  been  ups  and  downs  in  trade,  due  more  to 
commercial  crises  or  panics  in  other  quarters  of  the  globe 
rather  than  to  any  weakness  or  lack  of  enterprise  in  this  ; 
nevertheless,  Singapore  has  risen  above  them,  and  held 
on  its  way  triumphant. 


It  was  to  Raffles,  with  his  breadth  of  vision,  that  the 
initial,  the  irresistible  impetus  was  due.  The  merchant, 
so  he  insisted,  was  to  have  fair  play  for  his  industry  and 
speculation  ;  no  taxes  on  trade  or  industry  were  to 
check  the  rise  and  prosperity  of  the  Settlement.  He  was 
alone,  unfortunately.  We  see  him  surrounded  by  his 
bureaucratic  underhngs  ;  he  leaves  the  Colony  for  a  few 
months,  only  to  discover,  on  his  return,  his  lieutenant 
steeped  in  the  East  India  Company's  tradition.  It  was 
after  one  of  these  disappointments  that  we  find  Raffles 
complaining  that  he  was  "  remodelling  everything  and 
no  one  to  put  in  charge."  There  was,  indeed,  no  one 
his  peer  ;  no  one  with  his  discernment  ;  no  one  who  knew 
why  Singapore  was  Singapore — a  great  emporium  with 
doors  thrown  open  to  trade  from  every  .quarter  of  the 
globe.  And  so  it  must  for  ever  remain,  if  its  great 
founder's  charter  of  freedom  be  kept  sacred. 

Luckily  the  early  merchants  were  quick  to  draw  in 
his  teaching.  As  the  Pilgrim  Fathers  fled  from  the 
intolerance  of  the  Old  World  to  seek  a  new  and  freer  one, 
so  we  find  merchants  from  lands  where  their  operations 
were  trammelled  and  hampered,  where  they  were 
hedged  around  with  duties  and  restrictions,  "  congre- 
gating here  fast."  The  earliest  records,  and  those  writ- 
ten later  in  the  century,  present  to  us  a  picture  of  the 
sturdy,  independent  merchant,  insistent  upon  his  rights, 
ready  to  strike  out  at  any  attempt  on  the  part  of  Govern- 
ment to  curtail  his  privileges  or  to  interfere  with  the 
freedom  of  the  port. 


What  were  the  conditions  of  trade  in  those  first  years  ? 
Trade  centred  round  the  river  ;  vessels  anchored  as  near 
its  mouth  as  possible,  and  the  bulk  of  the  commerce 
of  the  place  was  done  over  Boat  Quay.  Collyer  Quay 
was  not  finished  till  1864,  and  up  to  that  date  the  backs 
of  the  houses  on  that  side  of  Raffles  Square  abutted  on 
the  open  sands  of  the  roads.  Before  the  advent  of 
steamers   trade   was   largely   seasonal,   the    arrival    of 


junks  depending  upon  the  favourable  monsoon  winds. 
From  China,  Siam,  and  the  Celebes,  the  north-east  mon- 
soon carried  fleets  of  junks,  which  returned  when  the 
winds  veered  round  to  the  south-west.  There  is  a 
description  of  the  junks  from  China  with  their  rudders 
up,  looking  like  shops,  with  samples  hanging  about  in 
all  directions.  They  brought  tea,  raw  silk,  camphor, 
earthenware,  etc.  Then,  as  now,  the  Chinese  were  the 
middlemen,  the  backbone  of  our  trade.  They  took  over 
the  cargoes  from  the  junks  on  arrival,  and,  in  exchange, 
loaded  the  vessels  with  the  manufactures  of  the  more 
civilised  world,  together  with  pepper,  birds'  nests,  and 
other  produce  of  the  Archipelago.  The  most  important 
trade  was,  at  first,  with  China.  Though  the  actual 
monopoly  of  Indian  trade  was  broken  before  the  founding 
of  Singapore,  the  trade  with  China,  and  the  tea  trade 
•generally,  was,  up  till  1834,  still  confined  to  the  East 
India  Company.  Singapore  therefore  offered  attractive 
opportunities  for  dealing  in  the  products  of  China  ; 
here  transhipment  could  be  effected,  and  the  sole 
surviving  monopoly  of  the  East  India  Company  thus 
avoided.  When  the  tea  trade  was  freed  from  monopoly, 
the  custom  of  using  Singapore  as  a  transhipment  port 
between  China  and  Great  Britain  resulted  in  a  certain 
amount  of  this  tea  trade  coming  our  way.  We  read  of 
the  first  chest  of  tea  being  saluted  with  some  ceremony 
in  Singapore,  when,  on  the  22nd  April  1834,  the  old 
Charter  of  the  East  India  Company  expired.  Over 
6,000  chests  were  brought  by  junks  that  season.  Lack 
of  experience,  or  adulteration  (a  practice  to  be  guarded 
against  even  in  these  days),  sometimes  led  to  unpleasant 
scenes  at  the  auctions  in  London.  Of  one  parcel  it  was 
said  that  "  not  a  single  particle  of  tea  was  in  the  goods, 
it  was  rubbish  !  poison  !  and  the  objectionable  article 
was  withdrawn."  Taken  as  a  whole,  however,  the 
Singapore  shipments  were  of  good  quality  ;  but  the  tea 
trade  soon  died  out  as  direct  shipment  from  China  took 
its  place. 
The  trade  from  the  Celebes  was  of  considerable  im- 


portance  in  those  early  days.  It  was  conducted  by  the 
Bugis,  who  were  described  by  one  writer  as  being  the 
carriers  of  the  Malay  Archipelago.  Their  fleets  arrived 
in  October  and  November,  bringing  to  us  spices,  coffee, 
gold  dust,  etc.,  and  returning  with  iron,  opium,  steel, 
cottons,  gold  thread,  and  other  articles.  In  very  early 
days  the  Bugis  imported  slaves,  and  not  only  sold  them 
at  the  river-side,  close  to  the  Resident's  house,  but,  in 
order  to  ingratiate  themselves  with  Raffles  and  the 
Resident,  and  to  induce  them  to  countenance  the  trade, 
they  offered  them  presents  of  these  human  goods  1 

From  Siam  and  Cochin-China  came  junks  with  sugar 
and  rice  during  the  north-east  monsoon,  returning 
later  with  their  cargoes  of  Western  and  Indian  wares. 
We  read  of  a  large  trade  with  Calcutta,  our  imports 
being  chiefly  wheat,  opium,  and  raw  cotton,  and  our 
exports  gold  dust,  tin,  pepper,  gambier,  and  treasure. 

Thousands  of  ships  from  the  surrounding  countries 
continually  entered  the  harbour  ;  among  them  were 
Arab  ships  from  Java,  flying  the  Dutch  flag,  and  a  varied 
assortment  of  smaller  coasting  craft.  One  early  writer 
tells  of  the  stir  and  life  which  this  commerce  with  nearly 
all  the  nations  of  the  East  created,  and  already  he  pro- 
phesies that  Singapore  will  surpass,  both  in  wealth  and 
importance,  most  of  the  old-established  marts  of  the 
world.  The  trade  with  Europe  developed  slowly  but 
steadily,  and  the  number  of  '*  square-rigged  vessels  " 
visiting  the  port  was  soon  considerable.  Most  of  them 
touched  here  on  their  way  to  and  from  China.  In 
those  days  the  Captain  and  members  of  the  crew  had  some 
interest  in  the  trading  of  their  ships,  whether  junks  or 
square-rigged  vessels,  either  by  being  allowed  to  trade 
on  their  own  account  to  a  certain  extent,  or  by  having 
some  share  of  the  space  in  the  ship  allotted  to  them. 
There  is  in  Duncan's  diary,  in  1824,  an  instance  of  this 
custom  being  taken  advantage  of  by  an  artful  Singapore 
merchant.     The  story  runs  as  follows  : 

"  We  have  shipped  by  the  good  ship  .  .  .  thirty 
chests  Persian  opium  to  Canton,  hoping  to  get  it  disposed 


of  before  the  news  of  its  fall  in  Calcutta  gets  wind  at 
Canton,  and  as  the  supercargo  of  the  brig  is  a  speculator 
in  Turkish  opium  to  a  considerable  amount  himself  and 
carries  no  letters,  or  only  conditionally  to  deliver  them 
when  there  can  be  no  detriment  to  his  own  views,  and 
being,  too,  the  first  vessel  that  has  gone  to  that  place, 
there  is  a  probability,  if  there  is  a  market  for  opium  at 
all,  it  may  turn  out  a  losing  concern.  But  at  the  same 
time  there  is  a  great  risk,  as  accidents  may  occur  and 
numerous  vessels  are  on  his  heels." 

Later  on  in  the  diary  it  is  recorded  that  the  news  of 
this  deal  "  was  not  agreeable,"  and  it  is  to  be  feared  that 
an  accident  did  occur,  or  it  may  be  that  the  supercargo 
was  even  a  little  more  artful  than  our  merchant  friend. 

As  an  entrepot,  Singapore  was  soon  supreme  ;  but 
attempts  were  also  made  to  establish  local  industries 
and  agriculture.  The  art  of  manufacturing  pearl  sago 
(said  to  have  been  invented  by  the  Chinese  in  Malacca, 
in  1 8 16)  was  introduced  into  Singapore  in  1824,  and  was, 
in  1830,  the  chief  manufacture.  There  were  also  two 
shipbuilding  establishments  here  at  that  time. 

Nutmegs  and  cloves  were  freely  planted  ;  but  the  clove 
trees  died  off  in  five  or  six  years,  and  the  nutmegs,  owing 
to  disease,  did  not  survive  much  longer.  The  hope 
expressed  by  Mr.  Canning  in  the  House  of  Commons, 
in  1824,  that  in  a  very  short  time  the  island  of  Singapore 
would  be  able  to  supply  all  the  spices  needed  by  the 
civilised  world,  was  thus  dashed  to  the  ground.  Cotton 
was  planted  with  every  prospect  of  success  ;  but  the 
conditions  soon  proved  unsuitable.  Sugar  met  with 
much  the  same  fate.  Pepper,  pineapples,  and  gambier 
fared  better  ;  but  there  was  not  much  money  to  be  made 
in  agriculture  :  capital  found  a  larger  and  quicker 
return  in  commerce,  and  it  was  into  trading  concerns 
that  people  put  their  money.  The  lack  of  success  in 
agriculture  was  partly  attributed  to  the  system  of  land 
tenure  which  then  prevailed,  and  to  the  inefficiency  of 
the  police,  which  rendered  agricultural  pursuits  unsafe. 
Tigers,  too,  were  a  terror  all  over  the  island.     The  seas 


had  even  worse  terrors.  They  were  infested  with  pirates, 
and  there  was  a  constant  outcry  and  appeal  to  Govern- 
ment for  more  energetic  measures  in  deaUng  with  them. 
It  was  not  till  1821  that  the  first  ship  arrived  from 
England.  The  first  steamer  seen  here  was  the  Dutch 
s.s.  Van  der  Capellan^  which  called  here  on  the  17th 
April  1827,  and  the  Nemesis,  the  first  steamer  from  Eng- 
land round  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  arrived  on  the 
30th  October  1840.  The  merchants  of  those  early  days 
led  a  free  and  easy  life,  being  an  independent  community, 
intent  on  business.  There  were  nine  mercantile  houses 
at  the  beginning  of  1 823  ;  and  it  was,  no  doubt,  a  member 
of  one  of  these  firms  who,  taking  the  law  into  his  own 
hands,  locked  up  in  his  godown,  for  some  trifling  oifence, 
a  captain  of  one  of  the  ships  consigned  to  the  firm. 


Although  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  was  not  formed 
until  1837,  prior  to  that,  on  more  than  one  occasion, 
merchants  had  combined  to  defend  their  interests,  or 
to  air  their  grievances.  We  find  them  assembled,  in 
1823,  to  bid  Rafiles  farewell,  and  to  receive  from  him, 
on  his  departure,  a  confirmation  of  the  permanent 
Charter  of  Freedom  to  which  he  had  pledged  himself  in 
founding  the  Settlement. 

In  1830  we  find  them  again  assembled,  this  time  to 
meet  the  Governor-General  of  India,  who  was  visiting 
the  port.  Three  of  their  number  were  then  deputed  to 
voice  certain  grievances — grievances  which  went  to  show 
that  trade  was  not  quite  so  free  as  it  should  have  been 
had  the  intention  of  Rafiles  been  fully  adhered  to. 
Amongst  other  things,  the  merchants  requested  that 
American  vessels  might  be  allowed  to  trade  here.  This 
was  an  old  complaint,  yet  the  absurd  restriction  was  not 
removed  until  a  few  years  later.  In  1835  we  read  of 
American  ships  anchoring  at  Pulo  Bulang,  fourteen  miles 
from  our  Roads,  communication  being  maintained  by 
smaller  craft.  Thus  was  an  excellent  cash  customer 
prevented  from  freely  trading  here.     Another  request 


was  that  tea  might  be  allowed  to  be  transhipped  to 
foreign  vessels  ;  for,  as  we  have  seen,  the  East  India 
Company  did  not  relax  its  grip  upon  the  tea  trade  till 
1834.  Further,  they  raised  the  old  questions  of  the 
Dutch  duties  and  of  the  lack  of  local  currency,  and 
they  asked  that  war  stores  might  be  admitted  freely. 

It  is  interesting  to  note,  with  regard  to  these  Dutch 
duties,  that  Holland  had  hoped  to  destroy  our  commerce 
by  imposing  heavy  duties  on  British  goods,  and  on  goods 
carried  by  British  ships  ;  also  by  restricting  foreign  trade 
to  a  few  of  their  ports.  At  one  time  Batavia  was  the 
only  port  in  Java  where  Europeans  could  trade,  and  a 
duty  of  35  per  cent,  was  placed  upon  English  cotton 
and  woollen  goods  imported  into  Java. 

The  Dutch  soon  found,  however,  that  protection  did 
not  pay,  and  that  their  unsound  policy  only  played  more 
and  more  into  our  hands.  Finally,  they  reaHsed  that, 
if  Dutch  commerce  and  prestige  were  to  be  maintained, 
the  example  of  Singapore  must  be  followed.  But  they 
learned  this  too  late  to  shake  the  foundations  of  Singa- 
pore's greatness,  so  well  and  truly  laid.  We  read  from  a 
narrative  by  a  Captain  Mundy,  in  1843,  that 

"  Singapore  owed  its  prosperity  as  much  to  the  ill- 
advised  measures  of  the  Dutch  as  to  the  sagacity  of 
Sir  Stamford  Raffles  ;  it  was  the  strong  contrast  between 
Dutch  rapacity  and  English  liberaHty  which  told  in  its 
favour.  In  former  years  the  Dutch  loaded  all  the  native 
traders  with  heavy  harbour  dues  and  all  sorts  of  exactions; 
but  they  have  now  in  some  measure  thrown  open  their 
ports,  and  are  endeavouring  to  rival  us  in  hberal  offers 
to  native  traders." 

This  altered  policy  soon  justified  itself.  It  is  said  that 
it  takes  two  to  make  a  quarrel ;  equally  true  is  it  that 
it  takes  more  than  one  to  do  a  deal.  All  trade  is  mutually 
profitable,  and  there  is  no  better  proof  of  this  than  in 
the  records  of  trade  between  Singapore  and  the  Dutch 
East  Indies. 

A  hundred  years  ago  we  lived  in  undisguised  hostility 
with  our  nearest  neighbours  ;   in  1823  a  circular  letter 


announcing  the  appointment  of  Mr.  Crawfurd  as 
Resident  at  Singapore  was  returned  to  us  unanswered 
by  the  Governor-General  of  Java,  and,  when  Raffles  was 
on  his  way  to  England  with  his  wife,  on  touching  at 
Batavia,  the  party  was  made  the  object  of  studied  insult. 
After  the  repeal  of  the  Dutch  duties,  however,  this  old 
feeling  of  animosity  gradually  passed  away,  friendly 
intercourse  increased,  and  trade  has  now  so  grown  that 
we  can  claim  that  our  trade  with  the  Dutch  East  Indies 
is,  next  to  our  trade  with  the  Malay  Peninsula,  larger 
than  that  with  any  other  country.  In  the  last  trade 
returns  published  (191 5)  our  imports  and  exports  were 
$1 10,000,000  out  of  $654,000,000,  or  17  per  cent. 

In  1 83 1  we  read  of  merchants  petitioning  Parlia- 
ment on  the  subject  of  the  Court  of  Justice,  as  no 
Court  had  been  held  in  the  Straits  Settlements  for 
fifteen  months.  The  following  year  a  new  Recorder 
was  appointed. 

In  1834  the  local  Government  proposed  to  levy  dues 
on  shipping,  but  nothing  was  done.  Two  years  later 
an  attempt  was  made  to  tax  imports  and  exports,  in 
order  to  meet  the  expenses  incidental  to  the  suppression 
of  piracy  ;  but  at  once  the  merchants  were  up  in  arms, 
protesting  against ''  such  an  impost."  Government  had 
to  give  way,  though  within  a  few  months  a  further 
suggestion  of  a  tonnage  duty  on  all  square-rigged  vessels 
was  made.  This  was  inveighed  against  in  the  Press,  and 
came  to  naught. 

In  1835  the  merchants,  with  W.  H.  Read  in  the  chair, 
met  to  make  rules  for  the  sale  of  goods.  There  had 
been  a  series  of  failures  in  the  Bazaar.  Trade  was  barter 
pure  and  simple  in  those  early  days ;  goods  were 
sold  for  payment  in  three  to  four  months,  staple  produce 
under  promissory  notes.  Trade  had  been  pushed  to 
too  great  an  extent  ;  importations  of  European  goods 
of  all  descriptions  flooded  the  market,  and  were  forced 
upon  it  ;  buyers  had  the  whip  hand,  and  piece-goods 
houses  did  not  enforce  payment  of  their  promissory 
notes  when  they  fell  due.     It  was  in  an  endeavour  to 


bring  the  merchants  into  hne  that  the  meeting  referred 
to  was  called  ;  and,  as  a  result  of  it,  a  cash  system  was 
decided  upon,  which,  we  are  told,  was  working  well  a 
year  later. 

The  Chamber  of  Commerce  was  first  established  on 
the  8th  February  1837,  ^^^  there  sat  on  the  Committee, 
in  addition  to  British  members,  an  Arab,  an  Armenian, 
and  a  Chinaman.  Any  member  elected  to  the  Com- 
mittee who  refused  to  serve  was  fined  $50,  and,  having 
agreed  to  serve,  he  was  mulcted  in  a  fine  of  $5  for  non- 
attendance  at  a  meeting. 

The  Chamber  soon  got  to  work,  one  of  the  first  items 
on  its  agenda  being  the  question  of  the  infringement  of 
the  Dutch  Treaty  by  the  prohibition  of  the  import  of 
British  manufactured  goods  into  Java.  The  Chamber 
seems  to  have  come  into  existence  at  the  end  of  a  period 
of  bad  trade,  perhaps  as  a  result  of  it.  Prior  to  this 
merchants  had  probably  been  too  busy  making  money 
to  worry  about  co-operation.  It  is  recorded  that  trade, 
which  totalled  over  four  million  pounds  sterling  in  1829, 
fell  to  less  than  three  million  in  1836.  By  one  writer 
(Earl)  the  retrogression  was  attributed  to  the  death  of 
the  founder  of  the  Settlement  and  the  consequent 
neglect  of  our  commercial  interests  in  the  Archipelago, 
together  with  the  unwarrantable  impositions  and  re- 
strictions of  the  Dutch.  That  this  question  was  the 
first  to  engage  the  attention  of  the  Chamber  lends 
colour  to  this  view. 

Disturbed  conditions  in  the  old  country  (we  were  near- 
ing  the  Hungry  'Forties)  were  probably  reflected  here, 
and  may  have  accounted  for  the  set-back,  which  seems, 
however,  to  have  been  short-lived  ;  for  ten  years  later 
we  find  Davidson  writing  that  the  trade  of  Singapore  had 
gone  on  steadily  increasing.  Later  in  that  year  there 
had,  apparently,  been  severe  losses  in  the  Bazaar,  due 
to  giving  credit  to  Chinese  **  men  of  straw."  Attempts 
were  again  made  to  estabhsh  a  cash  system.  The  agree- 
ment amongst  merchants  to  combine  with  this  end  in 
yiew  had  evidently  been  honoured  more  in  the  breach 


than  the  observance,  as,  indeed,  have  been  all  such 
attempts  down  to  the  present  day. 

At  this  time  there  were  misgivings  as  to  the  future 
of  our  trade  ;  the  acquisition  of  Hongkong  and  the 
opening  up  of  commerce  with  China  were  expected  to 
affect  our  interests  injuriously  ;  it  was  thought  that  the 
zenith  of  Singapore's  prosperity  had  been  reached. 
Later,  when  Labuan  was  ceded  to  us,  many  were  the 
evil  prognostications  in  circulation.  And  so  on  down 
the  century  we  have  always  had  from  time  to  time  these 
gloomy  forebodings.  In  our  own  time  most  of  us  can  call 
to  mind  doleful  prophecies  that  Singapore's  supremacy 
must  decline  in  these  advanced  days  of  communication 
and  direct  shipment.  A  sound  knowledge  of  the 
principles  which  regulate  trade  should,  however,  assure 
us  that,  granted  the  freedom  of  the  port  of  Singapore, 
there  is  nothing  to  fear  from  any  competition  ;  such 
competition  will  but  lead  to  an  increased  flow  of 
capital  and  encouragement  to  local  enterprise.  Certain 
branches  of  our  trade  may  suffer,  but  the  volume  of  it 
will  undoubtedly  steadily  grow. 

The  records  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  extend  back 
to  1859,  and  we  find  reference  in  those  early  days  to 
questions  which  have  agitated  us  in  more  recent  times. 
In  i860  a  resolution  was  passed  in  general  meeting 
opposing  a  suggested  income-tax  on  the  grounds,  firstly, 
that  it  was  unnecessary,  because  there  was  no  deficiency 
in  the  revenue  of  the  Straits  Settlements  ;  secondly, 
that  no  Government  is  justified  in  taking  even  the 
smallest  sum  of  money  from  the  people  unless  it  can  be 
clearly  shown  that  it  will  be  productive  of  some  advan- 
tage to  them  ;  and  thirdly,  that  the  effect  of  such  an 
inquisitorial  and  oppressive  tax  would  be  deeply  injurious 
to  the  commerce  and  revenue  of  the  Settlement,  by 
tending  to  drive  the  migratory  population,  and  with  it 
the  trade,  to  the  neighbouring  country  of  Johore  and 
other  foreign  possessions.  Very  much  the  same  objec- 
tions were,  raised  when  this  question  cropped  up  again 
fifty-one  years  later.     In  the  same  year  we  find   the 


Chamber  again  strongly  objecting  to  a  proposal  to  levy 
port  dues  as  being  likely  to  prove  injurious  to  trade. 

In   1862   the  following  firms  were  members  of  the 
Chamber  : 

Messrs.  J.  d 'Almeida  &  Sons. 
,,      Geo.  Armstrong  &  Co. 
,,       Behn,  Meyer  &  Co. 
The  Borneo  Co.,  Ltd. 
Messrs.  Busing,  Schroder  &  Co. 
B.  H.  Cama  &  Co. 
Cumming,  Beaver  &  Co. 
Guthrie  &  Co. 
Hamilton,  Gray  &  Co. 
Hinnekindt  Freres  &  L.  Cateaux 
A.  L.  Johnston  &  Co. 
Wm.  Macdonald  &  Co. 
Maclaine,  Fraser  &  Co. 
Martin,  Dyce  &  Co. 
Middleton,  Harrison  &  Co. 
Paterson,  Simons  &  Co. 
Puttfarcken,  Rheiner  &  Co. 
Rautenberg,  Schmidt  &  Co. 
Reme,  Leveson  &  Co. 
Shaw,  Walker  &  Co. 
Smith,  Bell  &  Co. 
Wm.  Spottiswoode  &  Co. 
Syme  &  Co. 

Zapp,  Rittershaus  <&  Co. 
The  Oriental  Banking  Corporation. 
The  Chartered  Bank  of  India,  London  and  China. 
The   Chartered   Mercantile   Bank   of   India   and 

The  P.  &  O.  Steam  Navigation  Co. 
T.  O.  Crane,  Esq. 
Byramjee  Pestonjee,  Esq. 
Of  these  thirty  firms,  all  have  disappeared  but  the 
following  six  : 

The  Borneo  Co.,  Ltd. 
Messrs.  Guthrie  &  Co.,  Ltd. 


Messrs.  Paterson,  Simons  &  Co.,  Ltd. 
,,      Syme  &  Co. 

The  Chartered  Bank  of  India,  London  and  China. 

The  P.  &  O.  Steam  Navigation  Co.,  Ltd. 
The  firm  of  Boustead  and  Co.,  which  is  still  so  well 
known  in  Malaya,  does  not  appear  to  have  been  a  member 
of  the  Chamber  in  1 862,  though  it  is  known  that  the  firm 
took  part  in  the  founding  of  the  Chamber,  and,  of  course, 
has  rejoined  it  since  1862. 

In  1862  there  is  evidence  in  the  minutes  of  the 
Chamber  of  attempts  by  the  Dutch  to  draw  trade  away 
from  Singapore,  and  the  Government  was  approached 
with  the  suggestion  that  "  much  useful  information  in 
this  respect  might  be  obtained  from  the  nakhodas  of 
native  prahus  arriving  from  the  eastward  were  the 
Registrar  of  Imports  and  Exports  directed  to  question 
them."  In  1865  we  find  that  cannon-shot  was  removed 
from  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  stock  list ;  so,  apparently, 
the  dealings  in  war  stores,  which  had  so  interested  the 
merchants  in  1830,  had  ceased. 

Those  early  committees  jealously  guarded  the  interests 
of  merchants,  and  also  the  finances  of  the  Chamber.  On 
one  occasion  we  find  them  objecting  to  a  charge  of  $6  per 
annum  imposed  by  the  Post  Office  for  delivering  certain 
expresses.  Correspondence  ensued  ;  eventually  the 
Postmaster-General  refused  to  cancel  or  even  modify 
the  charge.  In  solemn  conclave  the  assembled  Com- 
mittee, no  doubt  after  a  long  discussion,  decided  not 
to  reply  to  this  last  communication,  but  to  treat  it  with 
the  contempt  it  deserved. 

It  was  not  until  1878  that  the  present  building, 
comprising  the  Club  and  Chamber  of  Commerce,  was 
built.  The  gates  were  installed  nine  years  later,  as  it 
was  found  that  the  exchange  room  afforded  a  convenient 
haven  for  loafers. 


By  this  time  the  outline  of  the  town  and  sea-front,  as 
we  know  them  to-day,  had  begun  to  take  shape.     Collyer 


Quay  was  finished  in  1864.  It  had  been  designed  by 
Colonel  Collyer,  Chief  Engineer  of  the  Straits  Settlements, 
when  it  was  found  that  the  river  was  silting  up  ;  the 
traffic  on  it  had  become  congested,  and  trade  demanded 
more  elbow-room.  The  year  before  the  opening  of 
Collyer  Quay  the  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Company  was 
formed,  and  its  wharves  were  at  once  found  to  be  a  great 
adjunct  to  the  port. 

We  were  then  on  the  eve  of  a  great  development  of 
Eastern  trade,  caused  by  the  opening  of  the  Suez  Canal. 
This  development  resulted  in  increased  traffic  from 
Europe  to  the  China  Sea,  and  in  the  more  general 
employment  of  steam-vessels  of  a  large  class,  requiring 
much  greater  wharfage  room  than  sailing-vessels.  Thus 
the  Tanjong  Pagar  wharves  began  to  handle  an  ever- 
increasing  volume  of  cargo  and  coal. 

An  opposition  scheme  for  a  screw-pile  pier,  jutting  out 
into  the  harbour  near  Finlayson  Green,  at  right  angles 
to  Collyer  Quay,  fell  through  ;  but  that  it  was  contem- 
plated was  evidence  of  the  then  existing  need  of 
wharfage  accommodation. 

In  1 867  the  Settlement  was  transferred  to  the  Colonial 
Office.  For  some  years  previously  it  had  been  obvious 
that  control  from  India  was  prejudicial  to  our  develop- 
ment. So  far  back  as  1859  the  Chamber  of  Commerce, 
in  general  meeting,  had  resolved  that  a  petition  to 
Parliament  should  be  prepared,  and  submitted  to  a 
public  meeting,  praying  that  the  Straits  Settlements  be 
disjoined  from  the  Government  of  Continental  India 
and  placed  directly  under  the  Secretary  of  State  for 
India  with  a  Legislative  Council. 

We  needed  a  local  Government  with  the  power  to  pass 
laws  demanded  by  the  requirements  of  the  port  ;  legisla- 
tion dealing  with  bankruptcy,  ports  and  harbours, 
stamps,  passenger  ships,  and  other  matters  was  long 

Almost  fifty  years  of  our  history  had  then  been  run, 
and  we  started  the  new  era  with  little  more  than  our 
credit  behind  us.     So  low  were  our  finances  that,  in  1 87 1 , 


the  Governor,  in  addressing  Council,  said  that  he  aimed 
at  having  a  balance  of  $50,000  in  hand,  as  a  reserve, 
a  provision  for  "  dark  days  "  ahead. 

That  year  an  attempt  was  made  to  link  up  the  wharves 
at  Tanjong  Pagar  and  Keppel  Harbour  with  the  town 
by  means  of  a  railway.  Prior  to  the  opening  up  of 
Tanjong  Pagar,  there  had  been  a  dry  dock  at  New 
Harbour — the  "  snug  cove,"  as  described  by  Earl  in 
the  early  Thirties.  This  dock,  now  known  as  Keppel 
Harbour,  was  acquired  by  the  Patent  Slip  and  Dock 
Company,  afterwards  converted  into  the  New  Harbour 
Dock  Company.  When  the  opening  of  the  Tanjong 
Pagar  Dock  Company's  wharves  showed  that  there  was 
business  to  be  done,  the  rival  concern  built  a  wharf  and 
competed  for  the  import  trade.  A  controversy  between 
the  two  parties  eventually  took  place  concerning  the 
railway  to  the  town.  This  dispute  was  known  as  the 
' '  Long  and  the  Short  Line. ' '  Much  excitement  was  caused 
thereby  in  mercantile  circles  for  a  year  or  two,  and  the 
correspondence  between  the  two  companies  and 
Government,  which  can  be  found  in  the  Council  pro- 
ceedings of  the  period,  is  both  interesting  and  amusing 
reading  to-day.  The  quarrel  culminated  in  a  public 
meeting,  at  which  the  Tanjong  Pagar  party  seem  to  have 
carried  the  day.  The  Secretary  of  State,  however, 
decided  that,  if  a  railway  were  made,  it  should  be  under 
Government  control ;  he  was  averse  to  entrusting  its 
concession  to  any  one  faction.  This  proposition  did 
not  appeal  to  either  party,  and  little  more  was  heard  of 
the  railway.  Although  at  the  time  it  was  urged  that 
the  railway  would  so  cheapen  transport  as  to  drive  out 
the  bullock-cart,  it  is  doubtful  if  it  would  have  done  so, 
judging  by  the  utter  failure  of  the  attempt  which  was 
made,  a  few  years  later,  to  run  a  steam  tramway  to  and 
from  the  wharves. 

In  1872  trade  with  the  Native  States  of  the  Malay 
Peninsula  was  beginning  to  have  some  attraction  for 
Singapore  merchants  ;  but  they  were  plainly  told  by 
Governor  Ord   that   their  operations  were   entirely  at 


their  own  risk,  and  that  they  would  receive  no  counte- 
nance or  protection  from  Government — a  poHcy  no  doubt 
dictated  from  Downing  Street.  The  call  from  the  Penin- 
sula could  not,  however,  long  be  ignored,  and  force  of  cir- 
cumstances soon  caused  a  change  in  the  official  attitude. 

About  this  time  the  silting  up  of  the  Singapore  River 
was  causing  grave  concern.  As  early  as  1823  the  im- 
portance of  the  river  to  the  trade  of  Singapore  was  recog- 
nised. In  that  year  Crawfurd  writes  :  "  The  existence 
of  the  river,  or  rather  creek,  of  Singapore  forms  one  of  the 
most  valuable  and  striking  features  of  the  place  as  a 
commercial  port,  and  some  scheme  of  dredging  it  is 
indispensable."  Attempts  had  been  made  to  dredge 
it,  but  without  success.  In  1878  a  Committee,  the  first 
of  many,  was  appointed  to  report  on  the  condition  of 
the  river  and  its  requirements.  Though  forty  years 
and  more  have  elapsed,  though  reclamations  of  huge 
areas  in  the  harbour  and  developments  at  the  docks 
have  increased  the  wharfage  accommodation  of  the  port 
enormously,  the  Singapore  River,  which  still  remains  in 
this  year  of  grace  (191 9)  one  of  the  most  valuable  and 
striking  features  of  the  place,  has  had  no  attention 
bestowed  upon  it  beyond  a  cursory  dredging  in  the  middle 
of  its  channel.  It  remains  undeveloped — useless  for  traffic 
for  more  than  twelve  hours  of  the  twenty-four.  A  Com- 
mission is  now  sitting  to  decide  what  is  to  be  done.  Let  us 
hope  that  it  will  be  the  last,  and  that  it  will  tackle  the  pro- 
blem with  foresight  and  a  wide  sense  of  its  responsibility. 

In  1879  the  first  reclamation  in  Telok  Ayer  was 
approved  by  the  Secretary  of  State.  The  work  was  com- 
pleted eight  years  later.  An  area  of  eighteen  acres  was 
thus  added  to  the  commercial  part  of  the  town,  and  the 
fact  that  $9  J  per  foot  has  just  been  paid  for  some  of  that 
land  is  proof  of  the  wisdom  of  those  who  pressed  the 
scheme  forward  forty  years  ago. 


In  1886  Government  resolved  to  treat  the  Chamber  of 
Commerce  as  a  representative  body,  and  the  right  to 
II— 4 


nominate  an  Unofficial  Member  to  sit  on  the  Legislative 
Council  of  the  Straits  Settlements  was  conceded.  At 
this  time  the  question  of  bankruptcy  was  again  to  the 
fore.  The  Ordinance  of  1870  had  quite  broken  down. 
It  was  said  that  the  way  to  wealth  for  the  dishonest 
native  trader  was  through  the  Bankruptcy  Court,  and 
it  was  authoritatively  stated  that  the  great  majority 
of  failures  were  fraudulent.  The  1870  Ordinance  was 
founded  on  the  English  Act  of  1869,  the  leading  idea 
being  that  creditors  could  be  trusted  to  look  after  debtors 
themselves.  The  result  here,  however,  was  that  com- 
positions were  preferred  to  bankruptcy  proceedings, 
which  often  wasted  much  time  and  caused  much  trouble. 
The  English  law  of  1883  made  insolvency  something 
approaching  a  crime,  and  on  this  our  new  legislation 
was  based  :  proceedings,  once  commenced,  could  not  be 
withdrawn  without  the  consent  of  the  Court.  A  satis- 
factory feature  of  recent  years,  whether  due  to  our 
legislation  or  not,  is  the  dechne  not  only  in  the  number 
of  failures,  but  in  the  fraudulent  character  of  those 

In  this  year  (1887)  commercial  men  were  agitated  by 
the  new  import  tariff  established  in  French  Indo-China. 
In  view  of  the  fact  that  trade  had  hitherto  been  free, 
it  was  serious  enough  that  any  tariff  should  be  raised 
against  us  ;  but  what  we  protested  against  most 
strenuously  was  that  we  should  have  to  penetrate  the 
maximum  and  not  the  minimum  tariff.  Our  contention 
was  that,  as  Singapore  was  a  free  port  with  no  tariff  of 
any  kind,  its  merchants  were  entitled  to  the  lower  rate. 
Our  representations,  however,  were  not  well  received, 
and  we  were  advised  by  the  Foreign  Office  to  let  the 
matter  drop.  It  was  raised  again  in  1893, 1895, and  1896, 
with  no  better  results. 

It  is  interesting  to  reflect  that  this  differential  tariff 
was  the  direct  result  of  the  decision  of  Canada  and  other 
British  Colonies  to  give  preference  to  British  goods,  and 
this  retaliation  by  the  French  affords  us  food  for  thought 
in  these  days,  when  there  is  so  much  talk  of  Imperial 


Preference.  As  our  trade  is  largely  barter,  the  high 
tariff  imposed  at  Saigon  practically  stopped  imports 
from  Singapore,  and  this  resulted  in  our  ceasing  to  buy 
our  rice  and  salt  fish  from  Saigon.  We  were  driven  into 
the  arms  of  the  Siamese  for  these  two  vital  necessities, 
and  a  large  and  important  trade  was  diverted  to  Bangkok. 
Our  relations  with  France  at  that  time  were  not,  of 
course,  as  cordial  as  they  are  now,  and  as  we  hope  they 
always  will  remain. 

During  the  Great  War  these  Saigon  duties  have  been 
to  some  extent  relaxed.  May  we  not  hope  that  they 
may  ere  long  be  swept  away  altogether,  and  that  we  may, 
by  freer  trade,  return  to  a  larger  intercourse  with  our 
neighbours  and  allies  in  the  East?  In  this  connection 
it  is  interesting  to  note  what  a  hold  Singapore  still  has 
on  the  Bangkok  trade.  In  spite  of  many  attempts  to 
do  a  direct  trade  between  Europe  and  Bangkok,  these 
have  generally  proved  unsuccessful.  The  Singapore 
dealer  has  an  agent  or  a  branch  in  Bangkok  to  ship 
rice  to  Singapore  in  exchange  for  piece  goods,  and  this 
interchange  of  commodities  is  still  considerable. 

In  1888  we  find  the  first  attempt  on  the  part  of 
Government  to  deal  with  a  very  much  disputed  question 
in  commercial  circles,  the  Registration  of  Partnerships. 
The  Government,  in  introducing  a  Bill  to  deal  with  this 
subject,  professed  to  meet  the  wishes  of  the  mercantile 
community.  They  were  justified  in  the  attempt,  for 
there  had  been  for  some  years  agitation  on  the  part  of 
the  Chamber  of  Commerce  for  registration.  In  i860 
the  Chamber  memorialised  Government  "  regarding  the 
necessity  of  passing  an  Act  for  the  Registration  of  all 
Partnerships  and  changes  of  Partners  in  firms  trading  in 
the  Straits  Settlements."  In  1864  the  Chamber  re- 
solved, "  That  the  Chinese  and  other  dealers  in  the 
bazaar  be  invited  to  enter  their  Chops  and  the  names 
of  the  various  partners  trading  thereunder  in  a  register 
to  be  kept  by  the  Chamber,  and  that  any  changes  be 
communicated."  The  Chinese,  no  doubt,  refused  to  do 
anything  of  the  kind,  and  interest  languished  for  some 


years  ;  in  fact,  there  seems  to  have  been  a  reversal  of 
opinion  on  the  part  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  for 
when  the  Bill  of  1888  was  introduced,  it  was  opposed 
by  their  member  of  the  Council  (Mr.  Adamson),  and  was 
withdrawn.  A  few  years  later  Government  again  took 
up  the  matter.  A  Bill  was  introduced  and  carried,  the 
Chamber  of  Commerce  member  (Mr.  Thomas  Shelf ord) 
being  the  only  one  to  vote  against  it.  But  the  Chamber 
of  Commerce  in  general  meeting  opposed  the  Bill,  and 
Government  decided  not  to  proceed  further.  After 
lying  dormant  for  eleven  years,  this  question  was  again 
raised  in  1905,  when  a  new  Bill  was  introduced  into 
Council.  In  the  following  year  it  passed  its  second  read- 
ing by  nine  votes  to  four,  and  was  then  referred  to  a 
Select  Committee  ;  but  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  the 
Chinese  Chamber  of  Commerce,  and  the  Chinese  Ad- 
visory Board  were  all  found  to  be  against  legislation, 
and  the  Bill  never  got  as  far  as  the  third  reading. 
Three  attempts  have  now  been  made  to  frame  a  work- 
able measure,  but  the  obstacles  to  the  success  of  regis- 
tration are  great.  It  would  be  difficult  to  decide  where 
to  draw  the  line  and  where  to  start,  and,  further,  it  would 
be  almost  impossible  to  prevent  evasion  and  fraud, 
where  fraud  was  intended.  The  strongest  argument 
from  the  mercantile  point  of  view  is  that  registration 
is  unnecessary,  that  there  is  little  demand  for  it  from 
those  most  concerned,  and  the  less  interference  and 
inquisition  on  the  part  of  Government,  the  better  for  the 
trade  of  the  port. 

In  1889  a  matter  of  some  interest  to  traders  was 
brought  before  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  namely,  the 
advisability  of  introducing  legislation  for  the  registration 
of  Trade  Marks.  It  cropped  up  again  in  1892,  1896, 
1904,  and  191 8,  but  the  unanimousopinionoftheChamber 
has  always  been  that  registration  of  trade  marks  is 
unnecessary  and  unworkable  here,  and  would  lead  to 
endless  confusion.  Adequate  protection  has  always  been 
obtained  under  the  present  law,  and  it  is  interesting  to 
learn  that,  even  in  the  old  country,  manufacturers  are 


nowadays  beginning  to  rely  less  upon  registration  and 
more  upon  the  right  of  prior  user,  which  prevails  here. 

In  1897  there  came  into  existence  an  association  of 
shipowners  and  shippers,  known  as  the  Straits  Home- 
ward Conference,  which  caused  endless  heartburning 
and  turmoil  in  mercantile  circles  for  a  number  of  years. 
Government  appointed  a  Commission,  in  1902,  to  investi- 
gate the  grievances  under  which  the  trade  of  the  port 
was  alleged  to  be  suffering,  but  nothing  was  done. 
Agitation  showed  its  head  again  in  1905,  and  then  in  1908, 
when  Government  refused  to  take  any  action,  pending  the 
issue  of  the  report  of  the  Royal  Commission  on  Shipping 
Rings.  Even  after  the  publication  of  this  report 
opposition  to  the  local  Conference  still  continued. 
Government  sympathy  was  enlisted,  with  the  result  that 
in  1 910  a  Freight  and  Steamship  Bill  was  introduced 
and  passed  in  Council,  with  but  one  dissentient  voice. 
It  aimed  at  freeing  the  port  from  the  incubus  of  Confer- 
ence vessels.  As  the  time  drew  near  for  the  Ordinance 
to  come  into  operation,  the  possibility  that  Conference 
tonnage  would  be  withdrawn,  and  that  there  would  be 
little  or  no  outside  tonnage  to  take  its  place,  caused 
some  alarm.  The  date  of  the  commencement  of  the 
Ordinance  was  postponed,  in  order  to  enable  the 
Governor,  Sir  John  Anderson,  who  was  going  to  England, 
to  interview  the  Conference  shipowners,  with  a  view 
of  finding  a  way  out  of  the  impasse.  The  chief  com- 
plaints against  the  Conference  were  : 

(i)  That,  by  a  system  of  deferred  rebates,  shippers 
were  irrevocably  bound  to  the  Conference,  and  had  to 
ship  at  rates  which  were  considered  too  high  ;  they  were 
unable  to  take  advantage  of  any  cheap  tramp  tonnage 
which  might  be  in  the  neighbourhood. 

(2)  That  at  the  inauguration  of  the  Conference  it  had 
been  arranged  that  a  sum,  amounting  to  5  per  cent, 
on  the  total  freight  earned  (known  as  the  secret  rebate), 
was  to  be  divided  annually,  and  paid  over  in  varying 
proportions,  to  certain  firms  which  had  made  a  sacrifice 


of  chartering  business,  in  order  to  support  the  Conference, 
or  which  might  have  been  of  service  in  other  ways,  such 
as  being  able  to  control  large  shipments  of  cargo. 

The  Conference  supporters  repHed  to  these  com- 
plaints : 

(i)  That,  though  rates  undoubtedly  were  above 
current  market  freights,  there  were  compensations  in  a 
more  regular  service,  by  higher  class  steamers,  to  a  larger 
number  of  ports  in  Europe. 

(2)  That  the  extra  rebate  paid  was  a  preference  which 
large  and  influential  firms  would  always  obtain,  even 
in  a  free  market. 

As  a  result  of  the  discussion  in  London,  the  deferred 
rebate  system  was  maintained,  but  with  triennial 
periods,  at  the  end  of  which  any  shipper  could  break 
away  from  the  Conference  without  forfeiting  his  rebates. 
In  actual  practice  this  triennial  chance  of  freedom  is 
of  little  or  no  value.  The  ''  secret  rebate  "  was  done 
away  with,  the  firms  being  compensated  for  their  loss 
in  lump  sums,  at  the  expense  of  the  shipowners.  The 
result  of  this  has  been  that  shipowners  now  pocket 
5  per  cent,  more  freight  than  they  did  in  the  past. 
The  bulk  of  this  sum  represents  dead  loss  to  the  producers 
in  the  Colony  and  elsewhere,  in  whose  interest  Govern- 
ment was  urged  to  act.  To  explain  :  in  the  old  days,  as  a 
result  of  competition,  the  recipients  of  the  ''  secret 
rebate  "  were  compelled  to  give  most  of  it  away  in 
purchasing  produce,  thus  ensuring  a  better  price  for  it 
than  would  otherwise  have  been  obtainable. 


Let  us  now  turn  to  the  question  of  currency.  Origin- 
ally the  Spanish  dollar  was  the  standard  of  value  adopted 
here.  It  was  in  this  coin  that  payment  was  made  to  the 
Sultan  and  the  Tumunggong,  under  the  treaties  which 
transferred  to  us,  first  the  Harbour,  and  later  the  island 
of   Singapore.     The   Spanish    dollar   was    the   popular 


coin  even  in  Penang,  where  one  would  have  expected 
the  rupee  to  find  favour.  As  Sir  Robert  Chalmers 
records  : 

*'  In  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  East  India  Company, 
in  1787  and  1788,  struck  a  silver  coinage  consisting  of 
rupees  with  half-  and  quarter- rupees,  and  copper  cents, 
half-cents,  and  quarter-cents,  the  trade  relations  of  the 
Settlement  (Penang)  constrained  the  mercantile  com- 
munity to  adopt  as  their  standard  not  the  Indian  coin, 
but  the  universal  Spanish  dollar,  the  coin  famihar  to  the 
conservative  races  with  whom  they  had  commerce." 

Low,  in  his  Dissertation  on  Penang,  tells  us  that  the 
dollar  was  the  favourite  coin  in  the  Straits.  Indian 
rupees  were  also  in  circulation,  but  gold  was  hardly  ever 

In  1835  the  East  India  Company  revised  its  currency 
legislation  for  the  whole  of  its  territories,  including  the 
Straits  Settlements,  and  made  no  exception  in  favour  of 
the  dollar-using  Colony  when  enforcing  the  rupee  as  the 
standard  coin  ;  but  later  a  concession  was  made  by  which 
it  was  provided  that  the  Indian  regulations  should  not 
apply  to  the  copper  currency  of  the  Straits  Settlements. 
These  copper  coins,  cents,  half-cents,  and  quarter-cents, 
were  struck  at  the  Calcutta  Mint,  and  were  legal  tender 
only  for  fractions  of  a  dollar.  But  even  this  concession 
was  withdrawn  by  an  Act  of  1855.  The  intention  of  the 
East  India  Company  was,  undoubtedly,  to  force  the  rupee 
into  general  circulation  in  Singapore,  as  it  had  already 
attempted  to  do,  many  years  before,  in  Penang. 

The  project  was  countermanded  by  the  Home  Author- 
ities, however,  as  the  result  of  a  report  by  Sir  Hercules 
Robinson,  in  which  he  dwelt  upon  the  great  inconve- 
nience experienced  and  the  public  demonstrations  which 
took  place  against  the  change  of  currency.  In  his  report 
Sir  Hercules  Robinson  also  pointed  out  the  unsoundness 
of  the  system  then  prevailing,  under  which  coins  not  in 
circulation  were  declared  by  law  a  legal  tender,  and 
under  which  the  public  accounts    were    kept    in    the 


denomination  of  one  currency,  whilst  the  real  monetary 
transactions  of  both  the  Government  and  the  public 
were  conducted  in  another.  It  was,  as  he  said,  a  system 
productive  of  nothing  but  endless  labour  and  confusion. 

In  actual  fact,  as  far  as  the  mercantile  community  was 
concerned,  all  the  Indian  Acts  favouring  the  rupee  were 
nugatory — "  Law  is  powerless  against  public  con- 
venience " — and  the  dollar,  in  all  its  varied  forms,  held 
the  popular  fancy.  In  1 863  the  Chamber  of  Commerce 
advocated  the  coinage  of  a  British  dollar.  The  Hongkong 
Mint,  which  opened  three  years  later,  met  this  demand 
to  some  extent  by  striking  a  coin  modelled  on  the 
Mexican  dollar.  The  Hongkong  Mint,  however,  closed 
in  1868,  and  this  source  of  supply  was  therefore  cut  off. 

In  1867  (the  year  of  the  transfer  of  the  Settlement 
to  the  Colonial  Office)  an  Ordinance  was  passed  by  the 
local  Government  repealing  all  laws  which  made  Indian 
coins  legal  tender,  and  declaring  that,  from  the  ist  April 
1867,  the  Hongkong  dollar,  the  silver  dollar  of  Spain, 
Mexico,  Peru,  and  Bolivia,  and  any  other  silver  dollar 
to  be  specified  from  time  to  time,  should  be  the  only 
legal  tender.  Subsidiary  coins  were  at  first  supplied 
by  the  Hongkong  Mint,  but  later  on  were  obtained 
either  from  England  or  India.  By  an  Order-in-Council 
of  1874,  the  American  trade  dollar  and  the  Japanese 
yen  were  admitted  to  unlimited  legal  tender.  In  1872 
the  question  of  a  British  trade  dollar  was  again  raised. 
At  that  time  it  was  felt  that  a  recent  decision  of  the 
Mexican  Government  to  remit  the  export  duty  of  8  per 
cent,  on  dollars,  and  to  allow  the  free  export  of  silver 
bars,  would  have  the  effect  of  so  increasing  the  price 
of  dollars  on  the  London  market,  and  reducing  the 
number  in  circulation,  as  to  render  it  necessary  for  the 
Government  to  coin  a  British  dollar  for  the  protection 
of  the  trade  of  the  Colony.  The  alarm  subsided,  how- 
ever, as  the  Mexican  Government  soon  revised  its 
financial  policy. 

In  1874  the  Singapore  Chamber  of  Commerce  joined 
hands  with  the  Hongkong  Chamber  in  advocating  the 


introduction  of  a  British  dollar,  for  general  circulation 
in  the  Straits  and  China.  It  was  very  generally  held 
that  it  was  most  unsatisfactory  to  be  entirely  depen- 
dent for  our  coin  on  two  foreign  countries,  Mexico  and 
Japan.  The  Home  Government,  though  sympathetic, 
refused  to  carry  out  the  suggestion,  as  they  feared  it 
would  be  impossible  to  lay  down  a  coin  as  cheaply  as 
the  Mexican  dollar.  Nothing  further  was  done  until 
1886,  when  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  passed  a  reso- 
lution unanimously  proposing  that  the  Mexican  and 
other  dollars,  and  the  yen,  be  demonetised,  and  that  a 
British  trade  dollar,  weighing  416  grains  and  of  900 
fineness,  should  be  accepted  as  the  only  legal  tender 
in  the  Colony.  The  Legislative  Council  approved  and 
passed  a  similar  resolution  ;  but  the  proposal  did  not 
appeal  to  the  Home  Government,  and  again  the  matter 
dropped.  In  1890  all  previous  laws  regulating  legal 
tender  were  repealed.  The  Mexican  dollar  was  con- 
stituted the  standard,  and  the  American  trade  dollar, 
the  Japanese  yen,  and  the  Hongkong  dollar  and  half- 
dollar  were  made  unlimited  legal  tender.  The  Straits 
Settlements  half-dollar  and  other  subsidiary  silver 
coins  of  800  fineness  were  made  legal  tender  for  an 
amount  of  two  dollars,  and  the  Colonial  copper  and 
mixed  metal  coins  for  an  amount  of  one  dollar. 

In  the  following  year  an  Ordinance  was  passed, 
giving  the  Governor-in-Council  power  to  prohibit  the 
importation  or  the  circulation  of  such  coins  as  were 
not  legal  tender.  The  American  trade  dollar  and 
Japanese  yen  were  soon  afterwards  demonetised,  and 
the  importation  of  the  latter  coin  was  prohibited,  except 
for  transhipment. 

This  is  how  matters  stood,  when,  in  our  search 
through  the  records  of  the  past,  we  first  came  across, 
in  1893,  the  suggestion  that  something  should  be  done 
to  secure  some  stability  in  our  standard  of  value.  In 
that  year  the  average  value  of  the  dollar  was  2s.  7f^., 
having  dropped  nearly  lod.  in  three  years.  The  Sher- 
man Act  had  just  then  been  repealed  in  America,  and. 


further,  the  Indian  mints  were  closed  to  the  free  coinage 
of  silver.  A  further  fall  in  the  price  of  silver  was 

A  local  Committee,  consisting  of  Government  officials, 
members  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  and  representa- 
tives of  the  Chinese  community,  was  appointed  to 
consider  the  matter.  The  Committee  could  not  agree  : 
half  the  members,  including  a  banker  and  three  Chinese, 
were  against  the  introduction  of  a  gold  standard  ;  while 
the  other  half  were  in  favour  of  it,  provided  that  the 
Indian  scheme  for  fixing  the  value  of  the  rupee  was 
successful.  They  further  held  that  the  gold  standard 
could  be  best  established  here  by  extending  the  circu- 
lation of  the  Indian  currency  to  the  Straits  Settlements. 
This  latter  recommendation  causes  some  surprise  in 
view  of  former  oft-repeated  expressions  of  aversion  to 
the  rupee.  It  was  based  upon  the  fear  that  the  diffi- 
culties in  the  way  of  bringing  the  dollar  on  to  a  gold 
basis  were  insuperable. 

Bankers  had  all  along  been  antagonistic  to  fixity  ; 
probably  they  quite  naturally  regarded  the  scheme  as 
an  attempt  at  control  of  a  commodity  in  which  they 
were  primarily  interested.  They  were  supported  in 
their  opposition  by  many  planters  and  miners,  who 
were  of  the  opinion  that  a  falling  dollar  had  the  effect 
of  giving  an  impetus  to  planting  enterprise  and  produc- 
tion generally.  One  banker  even  went  so  far  as  to 
assert  that  any  attempt  to  fix  the  rate  for  a  British 
dollar  would  be  a  great  failure,  and  would  not  work 

It  is  amusing  to  recall  that  the  Chinese  members  of 
the  Committee  were  of  the  opinion  that  though  fixity 
of  exchange  might  attract  capital  to  the  Colony,  it 
would  also  afford  means  for  the  withdrawal  of  all  money 
of  timid  capitalists  from  the  Colony.  The  Executive 
Council,  to  which  body  the  report  was  then  referred, 
were  equally  divided  between  a  gold  standard  and 
free  silver.  Accordingly  it  does  not  occasion  any 
surprise  that  no  action  was  taken  by  the  Secretary  of 


State  with  fixity  in  view.  In  the  meantime  a  Depart- 
mental Committee  had  been  sitting  at  the  Colonial 
Office,  under  the  presidency  of  Lord  Herschell,  to  con- 
sider currency  questions  in  the  Eastern  Colonies.  It 
made  no  recommendation  in  regard  to  any  change  in 
the  standard  of  value  in  the  Straits  Settlements,  but 
advised  that  owing  to  the  scarcity  of  Mexican  dollars 
at  that  time,  a  British  dollar  should  be  issued  for 
circulation  here  and  in  other  Eastern  Colonies. 

As  a  result  of  this,  in  1894,  the  Bombay  Mint  began 
the  coinage  of  a  British  dollar  weighing  416  grains 
and  of  900  fineness,  and  in  the  following  year  the 
Governor  was  able  to  state,  in  his  annual  address  to 
Council,  that  he  had  heard  of  no  unwillingness  to  accept 
it  as  legal  tender  in  the  Colony. 

It  was  in  1880  that  the  Lords  of  the  Treasury,  having 
a  short  time  previously  refused  to  sanction  the  coinage 
of  a  trade  dollar,  threw  out  the  suggestion  that  there 
should  be  a  Government  issue  of  one-dollar  notes.  In 
the  following  year  Legislative  Council  passed  a  reso- 
lution favouring  such  an  issue  for  a  sum  not  exceeding 
$300,000.  However,  the  Lords  of  the  Treasury,  on 
reconsidering  the  matter,  decided  that  the  necessity  for 
the  dollar  note  had  not  been  shown,  and  refused  to 
authorise  the  issue.  Four  years  later  Council  again 
voted  in  favour  of  an  issue  of  $500,000  in  one-dollar 
notes,  and  also  recommended  Government  control  of 
the  note  issue.  But  apparently  the  time  was  not  yet 
ripe  for  action,  for  the  whole  question  was  dropped 
for  some  years,  owing  to  lack  of  public  interest. 

It  is  a  remarkable  instance  of  the  tenacity  of  our 
laissez-faire  policy  that  even  with  regard  to  currency — 
a  matter  which,  it  is  generally  conceded,  should  be 
subject  to  Government  control  and  regulation — the  bulk 
of  opinion  during  the  first  eighty  years  of  the  Settle- 
ment's existence  was  antagonistic  to  any  Government 
interference.  For  it  was  not  till  1 896  that  we  come  to 
the  first  serious  attempt,  on  the  part  of  Government,  to 
legislate  in  currency  matters.     In  this  year  the  Currency 


Note  Bill  was  introduced  into  Council.  The  Unofficial 
Members  unanimously  opposed  it,  as  also  did  the 
Chamber  of  Commerce,  the  reasons  advanced  being 
that  it  was  feared  that  Government  intended  to  oust 
the  banks'  note  issues,  and,  further,  that  it  was  not 
advisable  that  Singapore  should  be  the  only  place 
where  notes  could  be  encashed.  It  was  held  that  pro- 
vision for  encashment  should  also  be  made  in  Penang. 
Government  persisted,  however,  and  the  Bill  was  passed. 
The  issue  of  notes  began  on  the  ist  May  1899.  In  that 
year  a  new  Currency  Note  Bill,  on  very  much  the  same 
lines  as  the  1897  Ordinance  which  it  repealed,  was 
introduced  and  passed  without  opposition. 

It  is  odd  that,  in  view  of  previous  demands  for  dollar 
notes,  we  find  that  none  was  actually  issued  until 
1906.  In  the  meantime  the  question  of  fixity  of 
exchange  had  again  forced  itself  into  prominence.  In 
1 896  the  average  value  of  the  dollar  was  approximately 
2s.2\d.  In  the  following  year,  after  a  further  and  sudden 
fall  in  the  value  of  silver,  a  sub-committee  was  ap- 
pointed by  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  to  enquire  into 
the  local  currency  and  the  question  of  a  gold  standard. 
The  Committee  reported  in  favour  of  fixing  the  value 
of  the  dollar  at  25. 

The  report  met  with  some  criticism,  both  from  the 
Government  here  and  in  the  Federated  Malay  States, 
and  nothing  was  done  until  1902.  In  that  year 
exchange  dropped  from  is.  10^^^.  to  is.6^d,,  and  was  on 
the  downward  grade  all  through  the  year.  The  Chamber 
of  Commerce  then  addressed  a  letter  to  Government 
asking  if  they  were  prepared  to  reconsider  the  question 
of  fixing  exchange.  In  reply,  the  Governor  invited  the 
views  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  on  the  advisability 
of  attempting  some  arrangement  with  neighbouring 
countries  as  to  a  uniform  relative  value  between  local 
currency  and  gold.  The  Chamber  was  of  opinion  that 
such  a  scheme  of  co-operation  was  impossible,  and  they 
asked  for  enquiry  by  an  expert.  The  correspondence 
was   forwarded   to   the   Secretary   of  State,    with   the 


request  that  the  whole  question  might  be  referred  to 
an  expert,  preferably  with  Indian  experience. 

The  Barbour  Commission  of  1903  was  the  result. 
The  chief  recommendations  of  that  Commission  were  : 

(i)  The  introduction  of  a  Straits  dollar  of  the  same 
weight  and  fineness  as  the  British  dollar  then  current. 

(2)  The  demonetisation  of  Mexican  and  British  dollars 
as  soon  as  the  supply  of  the  new  dollars  was  sufficient. 

(3)  That  the  coinage  of  the  new  dollar  should  then 
cease  until  its  exchange  value  had  reached  whatever 
value  in  relation  to  the  sovereign  might  be  decided 
on  by  Government. 

The  recommendations  were  approved  both  by  Govern- 
ment and  by  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  and  the  sug- 
gested conversion  scheme  was  carried  out  with  certain 
modifications,  found  necessary  in  the  course  of  trade. 
In  November  1904  the  recoinage  of  the  old  dollars  was 
completed,  and  some  thirty-five  million  new  Straits 
dollars  had  been  received  in  the  Colony.  The  demone- 
tisation of  British,  Hongkong,  and  Mexican  dollars  had 
been  proclaimed  two  months  earlier. 

The  way  was  now  open  for  fixing  the  gold  value  of  the 
coin.  This  was  not  done  till,  on  the  29th  January 
1906,  it  was  fixed  at  25.  4d.,  the  intervening  period 
being  one  of  great  anxiety  both  to  the  Government  and 
to  the  commercial  community,  owing  to  a  rise  in  silver 
and  to  violent  speculation  in  exchange.  It  is  a  very 
interesting  and  instructive  story,  but  too  long  to 
relate  here,  and  those  interested  cannot  do  better  than 
refer  to  Kemmerer's  Modern  Currency  Reforms,  or  to 
Currency  Reform  in  the  Straits  Settlements,  by  J.  O. 

It  was  hoped  that  our  currency  troubles  were  then 
at  an  end,  but  we  had  not  reckoned  upon  silver.  On 
the  29th  January  1906  an  Ordinance  was  passed  pro- 
viding for  the  issue  in  Singapore  of  notes  for  gold  at 
the  rate  of  $60  for  £7.  Further,  the  Currency  Com- 
missioners were  empowered  to  issue  notes  in  Singapore 


against  telegraphic  transfers  in  favour  of  the  Crown 
Agents  for  the  Colonies  in  London,  at  a  rate  which  would 
cover  the  cost  of  remitting  the  gold  from  London  to 
Singapore.  Later  in  the  year  another  Ordinance  was 
passed  legalising  the  reverse  operation,  namely,  the 
acceptance  of  notes  by  the  Currency  Commissioners  in 
Singapore  in  exchange  for  gold  paid  in  London  by  the 
Crown  Agents,  as  also  the  issue  of  gold  in  exchange  for 
notes  in  Singapore. 

Under  these  Ordinances  a  sum  of  a  milhon  sterhng 
was  quickly  accumulated.  Simultaneously  the  dollar 
note  was  made  unlimited  legal  tender.  In  this  year 
silver  rose  to  such  a  height  as  to  render  it  necessary  to 
review  the  situation  anew.  There  were  two  alternatives 
before  us,  either  to  reduce  the  silver  content  of  the 
dollar  or  to  raise  its  nominal  value,  already  higher  than 
was  at  first  anticipated  or  desired.  The  former  course 
was  decided  upon,  and  there  were  then  two  possible 
ways  of  depreciating  the  value  of  the  dollar,  by 
reducing  either  its  fineness  or  its  size.  It  was  decided 
to  reduce  its  size,  and  the  old  fineness  (900)  was  retained, 
the  weight  being  reduced  to  312  grs.  To  obviate  a 
drain  on  the  silver  reserve  during  recoinage  British 
sovereigns  were  made  unlimited  legal  tender,  and  so 
were  the  50-cent  pieces. 

In  view  of  the  popularity  of  the  dollar  notes,  it  was 
unnecessary  to  remint  the  whole  of  the  thirty-five  million 
Straits  dollars  ;  therefore  only  nineteen  million  were 
reminted  into  dollars  and  fifty-cent  pieces,  the  latter 
being  changed  to  exactly  half  the  weight  of  the  dollar 
and  of  the  same  fineness  ;  at  the  same  time  the  opportu- 
nity was  taken  of  withdrawing  the  subsidiary  silver  of 
800  fineness,  and  of  replacing  it  with  coins  of  600  fineness. 
Once  more  it  was  thought  that  the  value  of  silver  had 
no  further  terrors  for  us.  The  Governor,  in  alluding  to 
these  proposed  reforms,  remarked  :  "  We  shall  then  have 
placed  our  currency  on  an  impregnable  basis."  But,  as 
we  shall  see  later,  our  troubles  were  by  no  means  at  an 


In  1908  the  important  step  was  taken  of  legislating 
to  enable  the  Crown  Agents  in  London  to  hold,  in  gold, 
part  of  the  coin  reserve  of  the  Note  Guarantee  Fund, 
which  hitherto  they  had  been  only  able  to  hold  tempor- 
arily for  the  purchase  of  silver  or  investments.  At  the 
end  of  1907  there  had  been  a  run  on  the  Currency 
Commissioners  in  Singapore,  and  the  gold  reserve  had 
been  rapidly  exhausted.  Exchange  was  maintained  by 
selling  telegraphic  transfers  on  the  Crown  Agents 
against  loan  moneys  advanced  against  the  security 
of  the  Currency  Commissioners'  investments.  Probably 
it  was  immaterial,  then,  where  the  gold  was  ;  whether 
in  London  or  Singapore  our  reserve  would  have  run 
dry.  But,  as  the  Governor  pointed  out  in  Council,  it 
was  better  to  keep  our  gold  in  the  proper  place  for  it — 
London.  Though  unofficial  opinion  held  that  the 
proper  place  for  it  was  where  the  notes  were  issued, 
Government  won  the  day,  and  it  can  hardly  be  denied 
that  they  had  the  better  of  the  argument,  and  acted 

In  191 3  a  new  Currency  Bill  was  introduced,  and 
though  it  was  passed  in  191 5,  it  has  not,  owing  to  the 
War,  yet  been  put  into  force.  The  chief  feature  of  this 
Bill  was  the  creation  of  one  fund  to  take  the  place  of  the 
three  funds,  namely,  the  Note  Guarantee  Fund,  the 
Depreciation  Fund,  and  the  Gold  Standard  Reserve 
Fund,  which  are  now  in  operation. 

The  proportions  of  silver  and  gold  were  also  to  be 
altered,  as  follows  : 

Present  law  Proposed  law 

Silver,  one-sixth  of  note  issue.  One-fifth  of  note  issue. 

Gold,  one-third  of  note  issue.  Three-tenths  of  note  issue. 

Securities,  one-half  of  note  issue.      One-half  of  note  issue. 

The  Great  War  brought  more  currency  troubles ; 
silver  rose  to  a  height  which  made  it  profitable  to  melt 
the  dollar  ;  the  "  impregnable  basis"  of  ten  years  before 
was  no  more.  An  Ordinance  was  passed,  in  191 7, 
relieving  the  Commissioners  from  the  obligation  to  pay 
out    dollars    for    notes.     Later,    our    subsidiary    silver 


vanished  in  a  miraculous  way,  and,  as  a  result  of  a 
Commission  of  Enquiry,  it  was  resolved  to  reduce  still 
further  the  fineness  to  400,  and,  as  a  temporary  measure, 
to  issue  twenty-five-cent  and  ten-cent  notes.  At  the 
same  time  it  was  decided  to  reduce  the  fineness  of  the 
dollar  to  600. 

This  is  how  matters  now  stand  ;  and  one  of  the 
questions  for  future  consideration  is,  whether  it  is 
necessary  to  hold  such  a  large  proportion  as  one-fifth 
of  our  reserve  in  silver.  The  dollar  note  has  ousted  the 
metal  coin  in  popular  favour.  There  is,  in  normal  times, 
little  or  no  demand  for  a  silver  dollar  ;  in  abnormal 
times,  when  dollars  are  demanded.  Government  with- 
holds them.  The  reserves  against  our  note  issue  are 
very  strong,  and  there  is  little  fear  now  of  any  serious 
breakdown  in  our  currency  scheme.  In  view  of  the  fact 
that,  twenty-three  years  ago,  unofficial  opinion  was  so 
jealous  of  any  interference  with  the  Banks'  note  issues, 
it  is  of  interest  to  reflect  that  at  that  time  there  were  in 
circulation  some  $6,000,000  bank-notes,  while  to-day 
this  is  reduced  to  $164,000 — whereas  the  Government 
issue  has  attained  the  enormous  total  of  over  $80,000,000. 


In  the  hmits  of  this  short  history  of  the  "  Commerce 
and  Currency  "  of  the  last  hundred  years,  it  has  been 
found  impossible  to  include  statistics  showing  the  details 
and  the  ramifications  of  the  trade  of  Singapore  ;  and 
little  reference  has  been  made  to  the  various  articles 
of  merchandise  which  are  dealt  in. 

One  word,  however,  must  be  said  with  regard  to 
rubber,  which  is  now  such  a  large  factor  in  the  trade  of 
the  port.  When  it  was  first  suggested  that  rubber 
auctions  should  be  started  here,  under  the  sheltering  wing 
of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  mercantile  opinion  was 
by  no  means  unanimous  as  to  the  prospect  of  success — 
the  powerful  interests  behind  Mincing  Lane  terrorised 
some.  However,  we  went  ahead,  and  now  it  can  be 
safely  said  that  Singapore  will,  under  wise  guidance,  ever 


remain  as  it  is  now,  pre-eminently  the  rubber  market 
of  the  world;  51,161  tons  were  offered  at  the  auctions 
in  1918,  of  which  31,665  tons  were  sold.  In  addition  to 
the  rubber  sold  at  the  auctions,  the  business  done  by 
private  treaty  is  increasing  rapidly.  In  the  twelve 
months  ending  the  30th  September  191 8  the  value  of 
rubber  exported  from  Singapore  was  $1 53,45 5, 920  out 
of  a  total  trade  of  $512,229,753,  a  tonnage  of  well 
over  100,000  tons,  easily  surpassing  tin,  which  used 
to  be  the  article  of  most  value  handled  here. 

In  closing  we  cannot  do  better  than  set  down  an 
extract  from  a  letter  of  Sir  Stamford  Raffles  to  the  mer- 
chants of  Singapore,  written  on  the  eve  of  his  final 
departure  from  the  Colony  : 

"  It  has  happily  been  consistent  with  the  policy  of 
Great  Britain  and  accordant  with  the  principles  of  the 
East  India  Company  that  Singapore  should  be  estab- 
lished a  Free  Port  ;  that  no  sinister,  no  sordid  view, 
no  considerations  either  of  political  importance  or 
pecuniary  advantage  should  interfere  with  the  broad 
and  liberal  principles  on  which  the  British  interests 
have   been   established." 

These  are  notable  words,  and  they  set  up  for  us  a  high 
standard  of  what  our  policy  in  these  Eastern  Seas 
should  be.  Let  us  ponder  before  we  commit  ourselves 
to  any  course  of  action  which  would  in  any  way  pre- 
judice the  traditional  policy  of  maintaining  inviolate 
the  freedom  of  the  Port  of  Singapore. 


By  the  late  J.  R.  Brooke 

At  the  very  beginning  of  the  Colony  revenue  from 
opium  and  spirits  was  to  the  fore.  On  the  2nd  November 
1 819  the  Resident  proposed  to  put  restrictions  on  the 
sale  of  these  articles.  In  the  following  March  Raffles 
wrote  from  Bencoolen  that  he  thought  this  highly 
objectionable,  although  there  were  Farms  at  Penang 
and  Malacca.  The  Farms,  however,  were  sold,  and  four 
opium  shops  yielded   $395   a  month,  arrack  produced 


$i6o,  and  gaming-tables   $95.     The  money  was  spent 
in  paying  the  pohce,  the  Assistant  Resident,  and   the 
Tumunggong  for  assisting  in  pohce  duties.     Mr.  Craw- 
furd,  Resident,  in  1823  estabhshed,  instead  of  a  monopoly 
in  favour  of  an  individual,  licences  for  each  branch  of  the 
revenue.     The  sale  produced  $2,960  for  opium,  $1,540 
for  arrack,  and  smaller  sums  for  pork,  gunpowder,  and 
pawnbrokers,    the    licence    for    gaming    having    been 
abohshed,  although  Mr.  Crawfurd  argued  that  it  was 
"  an  amusement  and  recreation  which  the  most  indus- 
trious of  them  (the  Chinese)  are  accustomed  to  resort 
to.     Having  few  holidays  and  scarcely  any  amusements 
besides,  they  consider  being  debarred  from  gaming  as  a 
privation  and  a  violence  in  some  measure  offered  to  their 
habits   and   manners."     And   he   pointed   out   that   it 
would  lead  to  clandestine  play,  a  source  of  temptation 
and  corruption  to  the  inferior  officers  of  the  police.     In 
1824  the  opium  farm  fetched  $23,100,  spirits  $10,980, 
gaming  $26,112.     In  1841  the  opium  farm  was  let  for 
$6,250  a  month,  the  spirit  farm  for  $3,750,  the  gaming 
farm  having  been  dropped,  although  there  were  frequent 
attempts   made   to   prove   that   regulation  was   better 
than  corruption.     By  1855  the  opium  farm  was  let  for 
Rs.  27,100  a  month  and  the  spirit  farm  for  Rs.  9,510. 
The  monopoly  continued  to  increase  in  value.     In  1 867 
the  regular  opium  steamers  ran  monthly  from  Calcutta  : 
two  arrived  in  January  in  that  year,  the  Clan  Alpine, 
seven  days,  and  the  Thunder  seven.     These  two,  and  the 
Arratoon  A  pear  and  Catherine  A  pear,  served  the  first  sales, 
the  second  coming  by  the  Reiver,  Lightning,  and  John 
Bright.     In    1903    the    opium    and    spirit    farm    paid 
$470,000  a  month,  on  a  three  years'  letting.     In  1909 
the  Farmers  of  the  day  were  in  arrears,  and  the  Govern- 
ment entered  into  possession,  but  withdrew  the  following 
week,  on  terms  arranged. 

Things  became  so  unsatisfactory  later  in  the  year  that, 
in  view  of  the  report  of  the  Opium  Commission,  which 
was  completed  in  1908,  certain  enquiries  were  made  with 
a  view  of  ascertaining  whether  Government  could  not 


take  over  and  run  the  Farms  themselves  upon  business 
methods  and  under  scientific  control.  Cassandras  at 
once  commenced  to  point  out  the  difficulties  and  bewail 
the  prospective  ruin  of  the  Colony.  However,  towards 
the  end  of  the  year  the  Monopolies  Department  was 
formed  to  manufacture  and  sell  chandu  in  the  three 
Settlements  from  the  ist  January  1910.  Mr.  F.  M. 
Baddeley,  then  on  leave,  was  recalled  to  organise  and 
take  charge  of  this  new  department,  and  the  chandu 
factory  at  Teluk  Blanga  was  put  under  Mr.  J.  R.  Brooke, 
then  Government  Analyst  at  Penang.  For  the  first 
seven  months  of  the  year  the  factory  at  Penang  was  kept 
running  under  charge  of  Mr.  J.  C.  Cowap,  but  in  May 
1 9 10,  for  the  purposes  of  economy,  the  cooking  there  was 
stopped,  and  the  whole  of  the  requirements  of  the  Colony, 
F.M.S.,  and  Johore,  Kedah,  Pedis,  Kelantan,  and 
Trengganu  have  since  been  met  from  the  Teluk  Blanga 
factory,  ensuring  a  chandu  of  uniform  standard  quality 
throughout  the  Peninsula,  an  advantage  in  itself,  and 
also  serving  to  aid  in  the  detection  of  contraband,  which 
in  the  old  days  was  merely  judged  by  the  odour  on 
burning,  and  on  the  absolute  judgment  of  the  Farm 
tester,  instead  of  by  analysis. 

In  spite  of  the  suspicion  inherent  in  the  Chinaman,  and 
some  uncertainty  at  any  new  departure,  the  Department 
has  undoubtedly  justified  its  existence  ;  indeed,  it  is 
doubtful  if  the  Government  could  now  do  without  it. 
From  year  to  year  its  usefulness  has  been  demonstrated, 
and  other  Governments  have  followed  the  example  of 
the  Straits. 

The  policy  of  the  Government  has  been  to  reduce  the 
consumption  of  opium  by  gradually  raising  the  price  to 
consumers,  at  periods  which  for  obvious  reasons  must 
be  irregular.  Thus  in  1909  the  price  per  tahil  (ij  oz.) 
was  $3,  whereas  in  191 9  it  had  risen  to  $10.  In  the  same 
way  the  Indian  Government,  by  reducing  the  quantity 
of  raw  opium  for  sale,  has  progressively  raised  the  price  of 
the  raw  material  from  which  the  chandu  is  prepared.  In 
1909  the  average  price  per  chest  was  $920,  whilst  to-day 


it  is  in  the  region  of  $2,500.  This  poHcy,  while  decreasing 
the  consumption  of  chandu,  simultaneously  increases 
the  revenue  from  it,  thus  conferring  a  double  benefit. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  consumption  of  alcoholic  liquors 
has  greatly  risen  during  the  last  ten  years,  in  spite  of 
increased  duties  ;  nor  must  the  tendency  to  revert  to  the 
injection  of  morphia,  and  its  still  worse  companion 
cocaine,  be  ignored  on  the  other  side  of  the  balance-sheet. 

High  prices  always  tend  to  stimulate  smuggling  of  the 
dutiable  article,  and  the  ingenuity  of  the  Chinese  (and 
occasionally  others)  in  connection  with  smuggled  goods 
has  been  marked.  There  is  quite  an  interesting 
little  museum  growing  up  at  the  MonopoUes  Office  in 
Cecil  Street  of  various  receptacles  and  methods  employed 
by  detected  smugglers  captured  by  the  Preventive 
Service  (first  started  under  Mr.  J.  A.  Howard,  and  now 
under  Mr.  W.  H.  Taylor,  both  ex-chief  detective  inspec- 
tors). The  devices  vary  from  false  soles  of  shoes,  the 
"  flock  "  of  a  mattress,  upon  which  the  smuggler  was 
lying,  and  unconsciously  gave  himself  away  when  the 
heat  of  his  body  caused  the  pronounced  odour  of  the 
drug  to  be  detected,  to  the  linings  of  deck  chairs,  one 
of  which,  accidentally  knocked  over  by  a  chinting 
(searcher),  started  bleeding  chandu  at  the  joints. 

More  recently,  in  1 9 1 6,  the  Monopolies  Department  had 
assigned  to  it  the  collection  of  the  tobacco  duty — from 
its  inception  it  has  had  to  look  after  the  Liquors 
Ordinance — and  possibly  other  fields  of  usefulness  may 
hereafter  be  assigned  to  it.  The  magnitude  of  the 
operations  of  the  MonopoHes  may  be  judged  from  the 
fact  that  the  opium  revenue  was  over  eight  million 
dollars  in  1914,  the  liquors  revenue  being  two  millions. 


It  is  doubtful  if  there  is  a  more  annoying  person  on 
the  face  of  the  earth  than  he  who  flatters  himself  that 
he  takes  "  an  intelligent  interest  "  in  subjects  beyond 
his  comprehension  ;  and  probably  the  political  agitators, 


led  by  the  late  Sir  Robert  Laidlaw,  and  Mr.  Samuel 
Smith,  another  M.P.,  were  about  the  limit  in  their 
ignorance  of  the  opium  question.  At  the  same  time, 
it  was  undoubtedly  due  to  their  persistent  efforts  that 
this  Opium  Commission  was  appointed. 

Before  details  are  entered  into,  it  may  be  remarked 
that  the  man  in  the  street  appears  to  be  quite  incapable 
of  differentiating  between  opium  smoking  (which  is  as 
harmless  as  tobacco  smoking)  and  opium  swallowing^  or 
the  subcutaneous  injection  of  the  highly  poisonous 
alkaloids  to  be  obtained  therefrom.  In  fact  they  appear 
to  be  convinced  that  the  mere  smell  of  opium  leads  to 
those  deviHsh  conditions  narrated  by  de  Quincey  in  his 
Confessions  of  an  Opium  Eater.  Anyhow,  the  local 
Government  was  ordered  from  home  to  appoint  a  Com- 
mission "  to  enquire  into  matters  relating  to  the  use 
of  opium  in  the  Straits  Settlements."  (Later  this  was 
extended  so  as  to  include  the  F.M.S.) 

This  Commission  was  presided  over  by  one  of  the  most 
level-headed  business  men  then  residing  in  Singapore,  the 
Honourable  Mr.  (now  Sir)  John  Anderson,  of  Messrs. 
Guthrie  and  Co.,  for  many  years  a  member  of  the  Legisla- 
tive Council  and  Past  President  of  the  Chamber  of  Com- 
merce. The  other  Commissioners  only  have  to  have  their 
names  put  down  to  show  how  thoroughly  representative 
they  were  :  The  Hon.  Dr.  D.  J.  Galloway,  M.L.C.  (who  has 
now  returned  to  the  Colony),  and  Dr.  W.  R.  C.  Middleton 
(representing  the  medical  profession)  ;  the  Rev.  Bishop 
W.  F.  Oldham  (a  very  acceptable,  efficient,  and  highly 
esteemed  representative  of  the  Church) ;  the  late  Mr.  E.  F. 
H.  EdHn  (a  rising  lawyer)  and  the  Hon.  Mr.  Tan  Jiak  Kim, 
who  capably  represented  the  Chinese  community  ;  whilst 
Messrs.  Alex.  Cavendish  and  A.  M.  Pountney  (the  present 
Colonial  Treasurer)  acted  at  various  times  as  Secretaries, 
with  the  appreciated  assistance  of  Mr.  R.  D.  Davies  (of 
the  Singapore  Free  Press)  as  official  shorthand  writer. 
Unfortunately  Mr.  Davies  was  unable  to  accompany  the 
Commissioners  to  Penang,  and  they  appear  to  have  had, 
judging  from  the  official  report,  a  very  poor,  to  say  the 


least,  reporter  in  Penang.  His  name  is  not  mentioned  ; 
but  some  very  scathing  remarks  are  made  over  and  over 
again  concerning  his  dilatoriness  ;  and,  after  all,  a  man 
who  takes  shorthand  notes  and  fails  to  give  his  trans- 
cription inside  of  seven  and  a  half  months,  in  spite  of 
remonstrances,  can  scarcely  be  called  a  "  hustler  "  ! 
Indeed,  some  "  transcriptions  "  have  not  yet  arrived  I 

The  Commission  met  fifty-four  times  altogether,  and 
examined  ninety-four  persons,  of  all  grades  of  the  Com- 
munity, who  were  deemed  capable  of  giving  any 
information  relevant  to  the  subject  ;  and  for  this  purpose 
sat  not  only  in  Singapore,  but  journeyed  to  Penang, 
Taiping,  Ipoh,  and  Kuala  Lumpur. 

The  witnesses  included  no  less  than  twenty-one  nomi- 
nated by  missionaries  or  anti-opium  societies  (by  the  way, 
the  writer  can  vouch  for  the  fact  that  anti-opium 
"  remedies  "  are  usually  composed  of,  or  at  least 
contain,  as  the  principal  constituent,  morphine),  and  no 
less  than  six  missionaries  themselves  gave  evidence. 
Other  witnesses  included  the  Dutch  Consul,  the  Coroner, 
no  less  than  twelve  medical  practitioners,  also  miners, 
contractors,  bank  cashiers,  merchants,  representatives 
of  insurance  companies,  rag-pickers,  and  rikisha  coolies. 
The  enquiry  spread  over  fifteen  months,  so  that  no  one 
can  say  that  all  sides  were  not  heard,  nor  that  things 
were  hurried  through  without  giving  necessary  time  to 
probe  and  assess  the  evidence. 

The  conclusions  of  the  Commission  were  practically 
unanimous,  and  the  President,  in  par.  8  of  his  final 
covering  letter  to  the  Hon.  Colonial  Secretary,  states  : 
"  It  will  be  seen  that,  except  for  the  difference  of  opinion 
set  out  in  Bishop  Oldham's  rider,  all  the  Commissioners 
are  unanimous  in  their  findings  on  matters  of  principle, 
but  hold  divergent  views  on  one  point,  which  is  purely 
a  question  of  administrative  detail." 

Reasons  of  space  prevent  the  giving  of  their  report  in 
full,  but  the  following  digest  may  be  of  interest  : 

With  regard  to  the  evidence  generally,  the  Com- 
missioners were  of  opinion  that  it  had  been  sufficiently 


exhaustive  to  give  them  a  thorough  insight  into  the 
circumstances  surrounding  the  use  of  opium  in  the  areas 
with  which  they  have  had  to  deal,  and  enabled  them 
to  formulate  their  conclusions,  which,  briefly  stated, 

are  : 

(i)  Women,  and  boys  under  the  age  of  fifteen,  also 
members  of  other  nationalities  than  the  Chinese,  scarcely 
smoke  at  all. 

(2)  The  consumption  per  head  of  the  population 
showed  a  decrease  in  1907  (the  year  the  Commission 
sat)  as  compared  with  1897,  though  in  some  intervening 
vears  it  had  been  higher. 

(3)  That  owing  to  the  Farmers  in  the  F.M.S. admittedly 
adulterating  their  chandu,  comparison  with  the  Straits 
Settlements  was  useless. 

(4)  That  Chinese  coming  to  the  Straits  get  better 
wages  than  in  their  own  country,  find  they  can  afford 
the  luxury,  and  start  smoking  chandu  as  their  forebears 
always  have  done  as  far  as  history  records.  This 
tendency  is  probably  further  influenced  by  the  lack  of 
family  life  and  home-ties  ;  the  lack  of  healthy  relaxation 
after  strenuous  labours  ;  its  alleged  sedative  effect 
(which  the  writer  would  state,  from  personal  experience, 
must  be  purely  imaginary.  He  made  his  tests,  as  a 
matter  of  fact,  for  the  purpose  of  supplying  the  Com- 
mission with  all  the  information  available,  and  smoked, 
for  the  first  and  last  time,  chandu  in  the  approved  style, 
no  less  than  ten  pipes  one  after  the  other.  The  only 
sensation  he  obtained  was  the  Devil's  own  thirst,  a  throat 
like  a  roll  of  blotting-paper,  also  diarrhoea  and  a  headache ; 
but  there  was  an  entire  absence  of  sedative  effect,  and 
no  desire  for  further  indulgence). 

The  Commissioners  state  that  the  purely  physical 
effects  are,  so  far  as  moderate  smoking  is  concerned, 
relatively  harmless.  Further,  that  the  number  of 
"  opium  sots  "  is  not  large  ;  that  life-insurance  societies, 
with  considerable  experience  of  the  insurance  of  Chinese 
lives,  are  willing,  cceteris  paribus,  to  accept,  as  first-class 
risks,  Chinese  who  smoke  as  much  as  1 16  grains  of  chandu 


per  day,  an  amount  far  beyond  the  means  of  an  ordinary 

(5)  That  though  there  is  evidence  which  shows  that 
preference  is  given  to  non-smokers  amongst  the  coal- 
cooUe  class,  yet  60  per  cent,  of  them  are  smokers,  and 
Singapore  comes  second  only  to  Port  Said  in  rapidity  of 

(6)  Medical  men  (except  those  the  Commissioners  felt 
bound  to  draw  attention  to  as  obviously  biassed,  and 
exaggerating  their  evidence)  were  practically  unanimous 
that  opium  smoking  is  relatively  harmless  ;  that  even 
where  there  is  excessive  indulgence  there  is  no  organic 
change  in  the  body,  though  such  excess  may  lead  to 
functional  disorders,  emaciation,  and  loss  of  energy. 

(7)  It  is  found  proved  that  opium  smoking  is  not 
hereditary,  and,  from  concrete  instances,  they  can  state 
that  smoking  does  not  in  any  way  prevent  the  smoker 
having  a  healthy  family. 

(8)  Moderate  smoking  prevails  here,  and  excess  is 
met  with  only  in  isolated  instances  ;  the  proportion  of 
population  who  are  smokers  has  decreased  in  recent 

(9)  After  taking  all  evidence,  the  Commissioners 
"  were  not  convinced  that,  if  deprived  of  opium,  the 
Chinese  would  not  resort  to  alcohol  as  a  substitute." 

(10)  Recommends  Government  taking  full  charge  of 
the  manufacture  and  distribution  of  chandu  of  uniform 
standard  in  order  to  prevent  any  adulteration  or  decep- 
tion ;  that  retailing  shops  be  gradually  reduced,  and  the 
acquisition  of  chandu  by  women  and  children  should  be 
made  as  difficult  as  possible.  Price  of  chandu  to  be 
gradually  increased  to  a  prohibitive  price  to  the  majority, 
and  the  smoking  of  chandu  dross  to  be  prohibited 

(11)  They  consider  "  that  the  Chinese  are  quite  capable 
of  looking  after  their  own  affairs,  and  should  be  encour- 
aged to  do  so  "  ;  and  that  Government  interference 
should  be  as  small  as  possible.  They  do  not  think  that 
the  indulgence  in  opium  is  sufficiently  acute  or  wide- 


spread  to  justify  legislative  interference  by  way  of 
prohibition  ;  nor  has  the  state  of  pubhc  opinion  on  the 
question  reached  the  stage  of  rendering  a  policy  of 
prohibition  desirable  or  practicable. 

The  Government  very  wisely  adopted  these  recom- 
mendations, and  are  still  carrying  them  out. 

By  Dr.  Gilbert  E.  Brooke 

If  Singapore  were  famous  for  nothing  else,  its  intimate 
pioneer  connection  with  two  of  the  most  useful  substances 
of  modern  life — gutta-percha  and  india-rubber — would 
endow  it  with  a  good  claim  to  immortahty. 

For  many  years  the  inhabitants  of  certain  districts  in 
Malaya  had  used  gutta  to  make  moulded  handles  of 
krises,  etc. ;  and  in  the  early  'Forties  a  Malay  trader 
introduced  it  to  Singapore  in  the  form  of  riding  whips.  It 
was  at  once  investigated  by  Dr.  Montgomerie,  the  Senior 
Surgeon,  S.S.,  and  by  the  Naval  Surgeon  d'Almeida, 
who  was  so  well  known  as  a  merchant  in  Singapore  for 
many  years.  The  latter  was  the  first  to  bring  it  to  the 
notice  of  scientific  men  in  England  when  on  a  visit  in 
April  1843,  but  the  Asiatic  Society,  to  whom  he  gave  it, 
did  not  evince  any  enthusiasm,  and  contented  themselves 
with  sending  a  letter  of  thanks.  At  or  about  the  same 
time  Montgomerie  sent  someto  the  Bengal  Medical  Board, 
suggesting  a  possible  use  for  surgical  purposes.  Whether 
they  took  it  up  does  not  transpire,  but  in  1845  he  sent 
further  samples  to  the  Society  of  Arts  in  London,  and 
was  promptly  given  their  gold  medal.  It  was  only  six 
years  later  that  Professor  Wheatstone  first  used  gutta- 
percha for  coating  submarine  cables. 

Singapore's  connection  with  rubber  was  no  less  remark- 
able. Dr.  Colhns,  who  from  1874  to  1875  was  in  charge 
of  Museum,  Library,  and  Gardens,  was  already  dis- 
tinguished by  having  published  the  first  complete  report 
on  the  rubber  industry  of  Brazil  ;  and  had  been  the  first 


to  introduce  forest-rubber  seed  into  England  through 
Clements  Markham  in  1873.  The  seedlings  sent  to 
Calcutta  died,  as  did  the  first  sent  to  Singapore  in  1876 
for  the  Superintendent,  Mr.  Murton.  Another  batch  to 
Murton  arrived  safely  the  next  year,  and  was  planted 
in  Singapore  and  Perak.  Mr.  Cantley  propagated  them, 
and  got  large  numbers  of  trees  to  grow.  Mr.  Ridley 
prepared  specimens  of  this  cultivated  rubber,  and 
exhibited  them  locally  in  1890,  the  first  specimens  of 
cultivated  rubber  ever  shown  to  the  public.  The  idea 
of  any  future  for  cultivated  rubber  was  laughed  at  by 
everyone  except  Sir  Joseph  Hooker  and  Mr.  Ridley. 
The  latex  was  at  first  coagulated  in  cigarette  tins.  It 
was  intended  to  get  a  sheet  form,  which  would  be  easier 
to  dry,  but  funds  were  not  forthcoming,  and  so  common 
enamelled  iron  plates  were  used,  which  turned  out  discs 
called  by  the  trade  "  biscuit  rubber." 

Singapore  Island  was  originally  covered  with  dense 
.jungle.  Much  of  this  was  felled  as  time  went  on,  but 
the  names  of  many  villages  and  districts  are  taken  from 
trees  now  scarce,  but  doubtless  plentiful  fifty  years  ago. 
Such  are  :  Kranji  (Dialium)  ;  Changi  {Balauo  corpus)  ; 
Tampenis  {Sloetia  sideroxylon)  ;  Tanjong  Rhu,  the  Cape 
of  Casuarinas  ;  Kampong  Glam,  the  village  of  Melaleuca. 
Although  much  of  the  indigenous  flora  has  been  thus 
destroyed,  most  of  the  plants  collected  by  Wallich  in 
1 822  have  been  found. 

As  cleared  land  has  often  been  abandoned,  there  are 
large  tracts  covered  with  lalang  (Imperata  cylmdrica)  ; 
fern  {Gleichenia  linearis)  ;  bracken  (Pteris  aquilina)  ; 
or  with  Scleria  in  swampy  spots.  In  waste  ground  near 
villages  there  are  many  widely  distributed  weeds  which 
have  been  probably  accidentally  introduced  in  later 
periods,  as  very  few  are  to  be  found  in  Wallich 's  collec- 
tion. Two  of  these  weeds  are  interesting,  Clitoria 
cajanifolia  and  C/^omg<2ct//^a/<2,  as  being  South  American, 
but  escaped  in  Java,  and  accidentally  carried  to  Singa- 

The  history  of  the  Settlement  shows  that  spasmodic 

DR.   NATHANIEI.   WAI,I,ICH,   M.D.     PH.D. 



interest  has  been  taken  in  horticulture,  and  more  sus- 
tained interest  in  agriculture.  The  story  of  the  Botanic 
Gardens  is  resolved  into  three  definite  periods.  The  first, 
from  1822  to  1829,  was  an  experimental  venture  under 
the  aegis  of  Government.  This  was  followed  by  a  public 
eifort,  which  continued  from  1836  to  1846.  The  third 
phase  was  in  the  nature  of  resuscitation  in  1859,  and  has 
lasted  to  the  present  day. 

The  first  Botanic  Garden  was  the  outcome  of  the 
friendship  between  Sir  Stamford  Raffles  and  Nathaniel 
Wallich,  M.D.,  Ph.D.,  the  Superintendent  of  the  Botanic 
Gardens  at  Calcutta.  He  was  a  Dane  by  birth.  Born 
in  Copenhagen  on  the  28th  January  1786,  he  joined  the 
Medical  Service  of  the  Danish  Settlement  at  Serampore 
in  1807;  and  when  that  place  was  occupied  by  the 
East  India  Company  in  181 3,  he  entered  the  Enghsh 
Service.  He  was  invalided  home  in  1828,  but  returned 
to  India  some  years  later.  He  finally  retired  in  1847, 
and  died  in  Gower  Street,  Bloomsbury,  on  the  28th  April 
1854.  His  extensive  travels  of  exploration  in  Nepal, 
Western  Hindustan,  Ava,  and  Lower  Burma,  and  his 
numerous  and  important  publications,  brought  him  such 
rapid  scientific  distinction  that  he  was  elected  an  F.R.S. 
in  1829.  His  most  important  work  was  his  Plantce 
Asiaticce  Rariores,  3  vols.,  London,  1830-32.  There 
is  a  portrait  of  him  taken  by  Macguire  in  1849,  which 
was  presented  by  Mr.  H.  N.  Ridley  to  Raffles  Museum. 
Mount  Wallich,  for  many  years  a  striking  landmark 
between  Tanjong  Pagar  and  the  town,  is  called  after  him. 
But  little  now  remains  of  the  hill,  which  has  been  used 
for  purposes  of  reclamation. 

Sir  Stamford,  who  had  left  Singapore  on  the  7th 
February  1819  for  his  mission  to  Acheen  via  Penang, 
had  returned  to  his  headquarters  at  Bencoolen  by 
October,  after  another  visit  to  Singapore  in  June.  One 
of  his  first  actions  was  to  send  a  gardener  named  Dunn 
to  take  charge  of  the  newly  laid-out  garden  of  Govern- 
ment House,  on  the  slopes  of  Fort  Canning.  Dunn 
brought  with  him  125  nutmeg  trees  {Myristica  fragrans) , 


1,000  nutmeg  seeds,  and  450  clove  plants  {Caryophyllus 
aromaticus).  These  were  probably  planted  near  the  site 
of  the  present  Masonic  Hall,  and  gave  rise  to  the  nutmeg 
plantations,  which  were  such  a  feature  of  Singapore 
until  disease  put  a  stop  to  their  cultivation  about  1855. 
In  1822  Wallich  applied  for  leave  to  proceed  to  China 
on  account  of  ill-health.  He  sailed  by  the  H.  C.'s  ship 
Sir  David  Scott,  bringing  with  him  George  Porter,  the 
head  overseer  of  the  Calcutta  Garden.  Porter  was  left 
in  Penang,  where  he  was  put  in  charge  of  the  Botanic 
Garden  which  Dr.  WaUich  opened  there  in  April 
1823.  WalUch  himself  never  got  further  than  Singa- 
pore ;  and,  although  only  a  visitor,  he  took  some 
part  in  the  public  affairs  of  the  youthful  town.  In 
October  1822  Raffles  appointed  him,  together  with  a 
Dr.  Lumsdaine,  and  Captain  Salmond,  the  Harbour 
Master  of  Bencoolen,  to  form  a  Committee  to  report 
on  the  southern  bank  of  the  Singapore  River,  and  its 
suitability,  from  a  hygienic  point  of  view,  for  building 

On  the  2nd  November  Wallich  addressed  a  long  letter 
to  Raffles,  "  relative  to  the  expediency  of  establishing  a 
Botanic  and  Experimental  Garden  on  this  Island."  After 
pointing  out  the  advantageous  nature  of  the  soil  and 
climate,  he  recommended  that  a  suitable  piece  of  ground 
should  be  appropriated  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the 
European  town  for  the  purposes  of  a  botanic  garden  and 
for  the  experimental  cultivation  of  the  indigenous  plants 
of  Singapore. 

Sir  Stamford,  who  was  then  in  Singapore  on  his  third 
and  last  visit  (loth  October  1822  to  9th  June  1823), 
agreed  to  Wallich's  suggestion,  and  asked  him  to  choose 
an  eligible  site,  which  might  include  the  Government 
Gardens  on  the  slope  of  the  present  Fort  Canning, 
where  the  nutmeg  and  clove  trees  had  been  planted  in 
1 819.  By  the  20th  November  Wallich  had  staked  out 
about  forty-eight  acres  ;  a  grant  for  the  land  was  issued 
on  that  date,  and  the  first  Botanic  Gardens  were  an 
established  fact. 


Wallich,  however,  left  for  Bengal  by  the  John  Adam 
in  January,  and  all  the  arrangement  and  control  of  the 
Garden  devolved  on  Assistant  Surgeon  Montgomerie. 
This  early  site,  in  terms  of  modern  reference,  extended 
from  the  Masonic  Hall,  past  the  old  Fort  Canning 
Cemetery,  to  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Y.W.C.A.  build- 
ing, thence  to  Dhoby  Ghaut,  along  Bras  Basah  Road  to 
the  Roman  Catholic  Cathedral,  recurving  by  Victoria 
Street  and  Hill  Street  to  the  Armenian  Church  and  the 
Masonic  Hall.  Raffles  allowed  a  permanent  establish- 
ment of  one  overseer  and  ten  labourers  ;  and  for  the 
support  of  garden  and  staff  a  monthly  sum  of  sixty 
dollars  was  sanctioned,  a  figure  dubbed  by  Wallich 
as  a  "  splendid  donation." 

Dr.  Montgomerie  confined  his  attentions  to  keeping 
the  site  clear  and  planting  spices.  In  1827  he  wrote  a 
report  on  the  Garden  to  John  Prince,  the  Resident 
Councillor.  Mr  Prince  seems  to  have  taken  some 
interest  in  botany,  as  Erycibe princei  is  named  after  him. 
The  hill-side  had  been  stepped  with  eighteen-foot  ter- 
races, the  low  ground  had  all  been  drained,  and  roads 
had  been  made.  But  there  were  only  200  nutmegs  in 
the  nursery,  and  the  clove  trees  had  not  fruited  ;  and 
not  much  could  be  done  with  the  staff  of  eleven  labourers 
and  three  convicts.  The  Resident  Councillor  then 
selected  a  gunner  named  George  Hall  to  manage  the 
Gardens,  at  a  salary  of  twenty  rupees,  and  allowed 
fifty  rupees  for  building  a  hut  to  accommodate 
him  ! 

The  following  year  this  was  notified  to  India,  with  the 
remark  that  the  Garden  was  not  in  good  order  under  the 
gratuitous  superintendence  of  Dr.  Montgomerie  ;  but 
the  Company  replied  that  no  extra  expense  was  to  be 
incurred.  In  consequence,  on  the  30th  June  1829,  the 
establishment  was  discontinued,  after  an  existence  of 
less  than  seven  years,  and  ten  convicts  were  told  off  to 
keep  the  place  in  order. 

The  original  grant  was  cancelled  in  July  1834  by 
sanction  of  the  Governor-General,  part  of  the  site  being 


given  to  the  Armenians  for  a  church  and  part  to  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Darrah  for  a  school.  Also,  within  a  short 
time,  much  of  the  area  had  been  absorbed  by  the  great 
convict  lines  and  hospital,  which  were  so  prominent  a 
feature  of  the  town  for  many  years. 

Agriculture  by  this  time  was  making  considerable 
strides  throughout  the  island  ;  but  to  their  cost  many  were 
to  find  that  the  shrewd  judgments  of  Crawfurd  uttered 
in  1824  were  to  come  only  too  true.  He  had  said  that 
there  was  no  rich  alluvial  soil  suitable  for  growing  cotton, 
sugar-cane,  indigo,  cacao,  mulberry,  tobacco,  clove,  or 
nutmeg  ;  but  that  soil  and  climate  were  admirably 
adapted  for  coconut,  mango,  mangosteen,  durian,  pine- 
apple, certain  vegetables  such  as  egg-plant,  yam,  etc., 
and  especially  gambler  and  black  pepper. 

The  annual  recurrence  of  the  durian  season  has  at 
least  proved  him  correct  in  one  particular.  It  might 
be  mentioned  that  the  taste  of  that  beautiful  fruit  has 
been  described  by  some  unkind  person  as  resembling 
sour  cream  which  has  passed  through  a  dirty  gas- 
pipe  ! 

Jos6  d 'Almeida,  who  came  from  Macao  in  1825,  did 
much  experimental  work  in  planting  and  agriculture. 
He  introduced  cotton  {Gossypium  barbadense)  ;  vanilla 
{V.  planifolia)  ;  and  gamboge  {Garcinia  nanburii). 
None  of  these  ventures  flourished,  though  the  cotton  had 
a  vogue  for  some  years.  His  cotton  seeds  were  obtained 
from  North  America,  Brazil,  Egypt,  etc.,  and  were  planted 
out  at  Katong,  and  over  what  is  now  known  as  the 
'*  Confederate  Estate."  The  absence  of  proper  seasons 
and  too  constant  a  rainfall  killed  it.  Mr.  T.  O.  Crane 
was  also  a  cotton  enthusiast,  and  had  twenty  acres 
planted  in  1 836.  The  whole  area  produced  only  ten  cwt. 
per  annum,  instead  of  the  thirty-five  cwt.  expected,  and 
was  abandoned. 

Coffee  {Caffea  arabica)  was  another  venture  tried  to 
some  extent  between  1833  and  1839.  Charles  Scott  had 
1 ,000  plants  at  Lesudden  ;  Dunman  had  30,000  at  Holly 
Hill  Estate  ;   and  a  Chinaman  named  Kong  Chuan  had 


fifty  acres  at  Jurong.  But  the  plants  were  not  properly 
shaded  when  young,  and  they  flowered  and  fruited 
continually  so  that  no  proper  cropping  season  could  be 
got,  and  the  cultivation  was  abandoned. 

Cinnamon  (Cinnamomum  zeylanicum),  cocoa  (Theo- 
broma  cacao),  indigo  {Indigofera  tinctoria)  were  all  tried 
without  success.  Coconuts  (Cocos  nucifera)  proved  more 
promising,  and  in  the  'Thirties  there  were  660  acres 
planted  up,  chiefly  at  Tanjong  Katong  and  Blakan 
Mati,  with  about  50,000  trees. 

Pineapples  {Ananas  sativa)  were  plentiful  from  an  early 
date  until  quite  recently,  when  many  existing  plantations 
were  given  up  to  rubber.  When  first  cultivated,  the 
industry  was  chiefly  in  the  hands  of  Bugis  settlers,  who 
had  plantations  over  most  of  the  numerous  islands  round 
Singapore.  If  bought  at  the  garden  ten  pines  could 
be  obtained  for  a  cent  in  plentiful  years  in  the  'Forties. 
When  the  vast  gambler  plantations  throughout  Singa- 
pore Island  were  worked  out  and  abandoned  about  1850, 
the  pineapple  industry  began  to  be  adopted  by  Chinese, 
and  the  vacated  land  again  came  into  bearing  until  the 
advent  of  rubber.  A  reminiscence  of  the  past  came  to 
light  strangely  only  a  few  years  ago.  The  island  of 
East  St.  John's,  or  Lazarus  Island  as  it  is  often  called, 
has  not  been  occupied  within  the  memory  of  a  living 
generation,  except  for  temporary  huts  erected  in  1899 
for  beri-beri  patients  from  the  gaol.  About  six  years 
ago,  after  an  exceptional  period  of  dry  weather,  the  high 
bracken  and  scrub  with  which  it  was  covered  caught  fire, 
and  the  entire  island  was  burnt  bare.  This  showed  up 
the  serried  terraces  with  which  the  whole  island  was 
covered,  a  story  of  pineapples,  forgotten  for  thirty  or 
forty  years. 

The  need  was  early  felt  for  some  organisation  to  take 
charge  of  the  growing  agricultural  interests  of  Singapore, 
and  to  resume  the  functions  of  the  abandoned  Govern- 
ment Garden.  Consequently,  on  the  24th  May  1836, 
a  public  meeting  was  called  at  the  Reading  Rooms,  and 
it  was  then  decided  to  start  an  Agricultural  and  Horti- 


cultural  Society,  with  a  member's  subscription  of  $2 
a  quarter.  They  were  to  meet  at  7  p.m.  on  the  first 
Saturday  of  each  month,  and  the  Committee  elected 
consisted  of  the  Governor  as  President,  Messrs.  Balestier, 
Montgomerie,  d 'Almeida,  and  Brennand  as  members, 
and  Mr.  T.  O.  Crane  as  Secretary.  Their  first  meeting 
was  held  on  the  ist  June,  with  Dr.  Montgomerie  in  the 

The  Government  of  the  day  did  very  little  to  en- 
courage agriculture,  and  reasonable  development  was 
largely  hindered  owing  to  the  fact  that  waste  or  vacant 
landwas  notobtainableeither  on  long  lease  or  bypurchase. 
One  of  the  first  acts  of  the  newly  formed  Society  was  to 
point  this  out  in  a  petition  to  the  Governor-General. 
The  preliminary  response  came  in  the  form  of  a  grant  of 
seven  acres  to  the  Agri-Horticultural  Society  on  the  19th 
November  of  the  same  year.  The  site  given  occupied 
a  portion  of  the  original  forty-eight  acres  grant  of  1822. 
Its  area  was  approximately  that  which  to-day  is  occupied 
by  the  St.  Andrew's  Mission  property.  Raffles  Library 
and  Museum,  and  the  Government  residence  and  Metho- 
dist Church  which  lie  behind  the  Museum. 

The  first  annual  meeting  of  the  Society  was  held  in 
May  1837,  Dr.  T.  Oxley  in  the  chair  ;  and  it  was  then 
decided  not  to  increase  the  economic  section,  but  to  make 
the  horticultural  garden  their  chief  care.  In  addition 
to  the  subscription  of  members,  the  nutmeg  trees  were 
able  to  contribute  considerably  to  the  Society's  funds, 
the  receipts  during  the  year  1838  amounting  to  $269.92, 
and  the  upkeep  expenses  only  to  $74.99. 

For  the  following  nine  years  very  little  is  heard  of  the 
Society  or  its  gardens.  Dr.  Griffith  was  in  charge  of  the 
latter  in  1844  ;  but  the  Society  seems  to  have  become 
defunct  about  1 846,  and  the  garden  site  was  presumably 
resumed  by  Government. 

The  agriculture  of  Singapore  was,  however,  beginning 
to  assume  a  considerable  importance,  as  will  be  seen 
from  the  following  table,  which  refers  to  the  year 





of  ^rees. 


per  acre. 








Cloves   . 























Pepper  . 










Sugar-cane,     . 
Pineapples,  etc. 

1,562  / 














The  gambler  {Uncaria  gambir)  and  pepper  culti- 
vation began  early  in  the  history  of  the  Settlement, 
and  was  carried  out  entirely  by  Chinese.  The  former 
is  a  plant  which  looks  like  brushwood  of  three  years' 
growth.  The  leaves  are  collected  three  times  a  year. 
They  are  then  boiled,  and  the  yellow  precipitated 
matter  is  collected  and  cut  into  cubes  of  ij  inches, 
being  used  in  commerce  as  a  tanning  agent,  and  in 
medicine  as  an  astringent  under  the  name  of  catechu. 
The  cultivation  of  pepper  {Piper  nigrum)  was  carried  on 
by  the  gambler  planters,  who  used  the  refuse  gambler 
leaves  as  manure  to  the  pepper  vines,  which  were  trained 
on  tampenis  posts.  Three  acres  of  pepper  were  usually 
allowed  for  thirty  of  gambler.  Unfortunately  gambler 
is  a  crop  which  exhausts  the  soil  in  about  fifteen  years  ; 
and,  by  1850,  the  eight  hundred  estates  in  Singapore 
were  rapidly  beginning  to  fail,  which  had  the  result  of 
gradually  sending  the  gambler  planters  to  Johore. 

A  novel  use  for  gambler  was  suggested  by  a  local 
shipwright  named  Clunls  in  1849.  It.  appears  that  a 
ship  named  the  Ocean  Queen,  with  a  general  cargo,  but 
chiefly  gambler,  was  wrecked  near  Singapore  in  December 
1 848.  After  being  four  months  in  nine  fathoms  of  water, 
Mr.  Clunis  found  the  whole  upper  deck  riddled  with 
live  barnacles.  Directly  the  gambler  was  opened  up 
n — 6 


and  dissolved  in  the  surrounding  water,  the  barnacles 
were  promptly  killed.  After  further  experiment,  Mr. 
Clunis  evolved  a  composition  of  gambier,  lime,  and 
damar  oil  for  protecting  boat  bottoms  and  other 
immersed  timber  ;  and  Mr.  J.  C.  Drysdale  suggested 
that  it  might  be  of  use  also  against  white  ants. 

The  cultivation  of  sugar-cane  aroused  considerable 
attention  about  this  time,  consequent  on  a  modification 
of  terms  of  land-taxes  and  a  prospect  of  diminution  of 
duties  on  sugar.  Canes  were  first  imported  by  Mr. 
Joaquim  d 'Almeida  in  1846.  The  European  cultivation 
never  exceeded  400  acres,  and  was  chiefly  in  the  district 
to  the  left  of  Serangoon  Road,  where  the  Balestier  Rifle 
Range  is  now  situated.  Both  Mr.  Balestier  and  Mr. 
Wilham  Montgomerie,  junior  (son  of  Dr.  Montgomerie), 
tried  to  manufacture  sugar  on  a  considerable  scale  : 
Balestier's  plant  was  run  by  a  steam-engine,  Mont- 
gomerie's  by  water-power.  Montgomerie 's  plantation 
was  situated  on  the  far  side  of  Kallang  Stream,  and  was 
called  "  Kallang  Dale."  Mr.  R.  C.  Woods  afterwards 
built  a  house  there,  and  called  it  "  Woodsville."  The 
usual  output  from  one  hundred  pikuls  of  raw  sugar  was 
fifty-five  pikuls  of  dry  sugar  and  400  gallons  of  rum. 
The  industry  was  killed  chiefly  because  Singapore  was 
denied  the  privilege  accorded  to  Province  Wellesley  of 
having  her  sugar  and  rum  imported  into  the  home 
markets  at  a  reduced  duty. 

In  October  i8S9  a  movement  was  once  again  made 
by  the  public  to  start  an  Agri-Horticultural  Society,  and 
the  early  Colonial  records  show  that  the  Government 
again  allotted  the  ground  on  Fort  Canning  which  had 
been  given  to  the  previous  Society  in  1 836,  and  gave  some 
convicts  to  keep  it  in  order.  One  can  only  imagine 
that  promoters  raised  objections  to  so  small  a  site  with 
such  a  dismal  history  ;  for,  two  months  later,  it  was 
announced  in  the  Press  that  an  eligible  site  of  nearly 
sixty  acres  at  Tanglin,  belonging  to  Whampoa, 
had  been  obtained  from  him  by  the  Government,  in 
exchange  for  a  quantity  of  swampy  ground  on  the  banks 


of  the  Singapore  River.  Whether  Whampoa  scored 
or  not  by  his  exchange  history  does  not  relate  ;  but 
the  Singapore  pubhc  have  certainly  reason  to  be  thankful, 
for  they  thereby  gained  access  to  the  larger  portion  of 
the  fine  gardens  which  they  possess  to-day. 

Members  were  enrolled  on  paying  $25,  and  a  monthly 
subscription  of  $1.  Second-class  subscribers  had  the 
use  of  the  Gardens  for  $1 .25  a  month,  but  the  pubhc  had 
free  entry  on  Tuesdays,  Thursdays,  and  Saturdays. 
The  large  Committee  of  fourteen,  with  the  Governor  as 
Chairman,  was  increased  to  twenty-one  in  September 
1 860 — probably  for  the  sake  of  getting  all  the  influence 
possible.  Their  efforts  were  certainly  popular,  for  while 
they  hoped  eventually  to  benefit  agriculture,  their  first 
object  was  to  create  a  pleasure-garden  which  might  serve 
as  a  rival  to  the  Esplanade,  where  they  had  so  long 
doubtless  gossiped  and  flirted  during  their  evening  drive. 
The  main  entrance  was  in  Cluny  Road,  by  what  we  now 
call  the  Office  Gate  Road,  and  the  crest  of  the  hill,  to 
which  the  road  led,  was  the  first  part  of  the  garden  to  be 
developed.  Here  a  bandstand  was  erected,  and  the 
hill-side  was  terraced  and  laid  out  with  flower-beds  and 
stands  under  the  superintendence  of  Mr.  Niven,  junior, 
whose  staff  consisted  of  a  mandore,  ten  coolies,  and 
ten  convicts,  housed  in  lines  on  the  site  of  the  present 

The  band  was  a  regimental  one,  and  played  twice  a 
month.  At  first  the  Committee  were  a  little  doubtful 
as  to  the  heavy  expense  of  fourteen  dollars  a  month 
which  it  entailed,  but  they  thought,  on  mature  considera- 
tion, that  it  was  a  legitimate  expenditure  in  that  it 
might  add  to  the  number  of  subscribers  ! 

While  the  Garden  was  thus  under  construction,  the 
Society  organised  flower-shows  to  encourage  local  culti- 
vation. The  first  one  was  held  in  a  tent  on  the 
Esplanade,  on  the  27th  July  1861,  and  another  in 
December,  at  which  fruit  and  vegetables  also  were  shown. 

The  further  development  of  the  Garden  was  becoming 
urgent,  and  so  the  Society  made  a  new  entrance — the 


present  main  gate — and  proceeded  to  develop  the 
neighbouring  southern  section  during  1863  and  1864. 
The  work  was  carried  out  by  young  Niven's  father,  Mr. 
Lawrence  Niven,  who  was  the  superintendent  of  an 
adjoining  nutmeg  plantation.  This,  however,  was  a 
strain  on  the  resources  of  the  Societ}'',  so  they  held  a 
"  horticultural  fete  and  fancy  fair  "  on  the  28th 
December  1864  to  increase  their  funds,  and  they  got 
the  Government  to  bear  the  cost  of  the  main  gate.  The 
fancy  fair  was  held  in  the  mess-house  of  Tanghn  Barracks, 
then  unoccupied,  and  probably  proved  successful, 
for  another  fete  was  held  in  the  same  place  in  May 
1866.  It  might  be  mentioned  that  on  the  i6th  August 
1906  a  Singapore  Agri-Horticultural  Show  was  opened 
by  H.E.  the  Governor  on  Raffles  Reclamation  Ground, 
the  last  of  the  kind  during  the  century.  In  March  1866 
an  addition  had  been  made  to  the  Garden,  when  Mr. 
Leveson,  as  Trustee  of  the  Society,  bought  for  $1,700  a 
contiguous  block  of  twenty-four  acres  on  which  to  build 
a  house  for  the  Superintendent  and  some  nurseries  and 
coolie  lines. 

The  Government  of  India  had  now  found  out  the  gift 
of  seven  years  before,  and  they  issued  a  grant  for  the 
original  fifty-five  acres  on  the  27th  October.  Meanwhile 
Lawrence  Niven  found  that  the  service  demanded  of 
him  by  his  growing  charge  was  inadequately  paid  for, 
and  he  asked  for  a  rise  of  salary  of  $50  a  month.  This 
was  refused  by  the  Indian  Government,  but  was  duly 
paid  by  the  Society. 

The  Superintendent's  house,  on  the  land  newly  acquired 
from  Adam  Wilson,  was  constructed  with  bricks  supplied 
from  the  Government  kilns  at  cost  price  ;  and,  in  con- 
nection with  the  site,  the  present  Garden  Road  was  made, 
which  added  a  narrow  strip  to  the  old  area  near  the 
coolie  lines.  On  this  new  strip  and  on  the  site  of  the 
coolie  lines  the  existing  lake  was  excavated  in  1866.. 
The  Government  allowed  the  services  of  sixty  prisoners 
from  the  House  of  Correction ;  but  as^there  were  so  few 
prisoners  in  gaol  at  the  time,  only  ten  to  thirty  were 


available,  and  the  work  had  to  be  completed  by  Chinese 

Up  to  this  time  the  Society  had  had  two  Secretaries  : 
firstly  Mr.  J.  E.  Macdonald,  and  secondly  Mr.  E.  S. 
Leveson.  The  third  Secretary,  in  1867,  Mr.  C.  H.  H. 
Wilsone,  was  less  fortunate  than  his  predecessors,  and 
left  the  Gardens  with  a  debt  of  over  S700  on  the  contract 
for  the  Superintendent's  house.  When  their  financial 
position  was  reaUsed,  the  Comrnittee  prevailed  on  the 
Government  to  increase  their  monthly  grant  from  $50 
to  $100  ;  but  Governor  Sir  Harry  Ord  only  sanctioned 
this  on  the  understanding  that  living  economic  plants 
should  be  exhibited  for  the  benefit  of  enquiring  travellers. 
At  the  same  time  he  suggested  the  formation  of  a  Zoo  as 
an  educational  attraction,  and  offered  to  present  some 

Dr.  Little,  however,  stated  in  Council  on  the  24th 
December  1 874  that  the  Society  had  not  grown  economic 
plants  as  required  by  their  compact,  and  that  their 
interest  was  dying.  That  this  was  indeed  the  case  was 
proved  by  a  resolution  forwarded  to  Government  on  the 
13th  August  1874,  asking  that  the  Gardens  might  be 
taken  over  by  Government,  which  was  finally  effected  on 
the  7th  November. 

For  a  short  time  the  Garden  was  placed  under  the 
control  of  the  Committee  of  Raffles  Museum  and  Library, 
which  Institution  had  also  been  taken  over  by  Govern- 
ment not  long  before.  The  Curator  had  arrived  that  year. 
He  was  a  Dr.  James  CoUins,  who  had  been  Curator  of  the 
Museum  of  the  Pharmaceutical  Society,  and  had  been 
chosen  by  Sir  Joseph  Hooker.     He  was  an  expert  on 
rubber,  and  had  been  responsible  for  introducing  the 
first  rubber  seed  to  England  through  Clements  Markham 
in  1873.     He  started  a  journal  in  July  1875,  the /ojirna/ 
of  Eastern  Asia,  which  was  intended  to  appear  quarterly 
and  take  the  place  of  Logan's  Journal,  long  defunct  ; 
but  only  one  number  appeared.     His  idea  of  a  local 
commercial  museum  was  carried   out   only  forty-four 
years  later,  and  then  by  Japanese. 


Dr.  Collins  left  Singapore  about  1 877,  but  his  temporary 
control  of  the  Gardens  had  ceased  two  years  previously, 
when  Henry  James  Murton  had  come  out  from  Kew 
Gardens  (at  the  age  of  only  twenty)  to  take  charge  as 
Superintendent.  The  latter  brought  many  plants  from 
Ceylon,  and  with  later  supplies  from  Kew,  Mauritius, 
Brisbane,  etc.,  the  Agri-Horticultural  Society's  Park  was 
at  last  converted  into  a  proper  Botanic  Garden.  Mr. 
Niven  was  retained  with  the  title  of  Manager,  but  died 
when  on  leave  shortly  afterwards.  A  man  named 
William  Krohn  was  employed  by  the  Committee  to 
build  up  the  collection  of  animals.  Mr.  Murton  was 
the  first  to  plant  para-rubber  trees  in  Singapore  and 
Perak,  and  published  reports  on  native  rubbers  and 
gutta-perchas.  He  left  the  Gardens  in  1 879,  and  obtained 
an  appointment  under  the  King  of  Siam  in  1881,  but 
died  the  same  year  by  falling  from  a  window  in  the 
palace.  Niven  was  replaced  by  a  head  gardener  from 
England,  named  George  Smith,  but  he  died  in  about  a 

Walter  Fox  was  appointed  in  June  1879  as  Assistant 
Superintendent  to  Murton,  and  did  most  excellent  work 
in  the  Garden  for  many  years,  retiring  only  in  19 10  when 
the  appointment  he  then  held,  Superintendent  of  Forests 
and  Gardens  at  Penang,  was  abolished. 

Meanwhile  the  story  of  the  Zoo  must  not  be  omitted. 
Immediately  it  was  generally  known  that  the  Govern- 
ment would  maintain  a  collection  of  animals  in  the 
Gardens,  gifts  poured  in.  Sir  Andrew  Clarke  presented 
a  two-horned  rhinoceros.  Sir  Ernest  Birch  a  sloth  bear, 
Captain  Kirk  two  orang-utans,  the  Acclimatisation 
Society  in  Melbourne  an  emu,  one  great  kangaroo,  three 
red  kangaroos,  and  a  bushy-tailed  wallaby,  all  in  1875. 
In  1876  the  King  of  Siam  gave  a  leopard,  and  the 
Sultan  of  Trengganu  a  tiger.  By  1877  they  had  144 
exhibits,  and  the  expenditure  far  exceeded  the  Govern- 
ment grant.  At  first  two  privates  of  a  regiment 
stationed  in  Singapore  were  employed  as  keepers  ; 
then,  in  1876,  a  Mr.  Capel,  for  whom  a  small  house  was 


built  below  the  aviary,  but  he  was  dismissed  because 
he  wanted  more  pay.  Chinese  were  next  employed  as 
keepers,  and  then  Javanese. 

There  were  big  losses  amongst  the  animals.  For 
instance,  one  night  in  1876  some  reprobate  killed  the 
emu,  a  bear,  and  a  cassowary.  In  1877  the  rhinoceros 
and  tw^o  kangaroos  died,  and  in  1 878  both  of  the  leopards. 
This  decided  the  Committee  to  keep  only  birds  and  small 
animals.  So  they  sent  the  tiger  and  orang-utan  and 
other  animals  to  Calcutta  in  exchange  for  some  Indian 

The  shrivelled  Zoo  kept  up  a  precarious  existence  until 
1905,  when  the  last  occupant  was  sold.  Its  fame  was 
not  realised  until  after  its  abolition,  when,  in  the  follow- 
ing year,  nearly  2,000  globe-trotters  are  said  to  have 
visited  the  Gardens  to  see  it,  and  left  in  disgust,  as  there 
was  nothing  else  to  see  in  Singapore  ! 

Nathaniel  Cantley  succeeded Murton  as  Superintendent 
of  the  Garden  in  November  1 880.  He  had  been  attached 
to  Kew  Gardens,  and  had  also  been  Assistant  Superin- 
tendent of  the  Botanic  Gardens  in  Mauritius.  He  w^as 
not  strong,  but  got  through  an  immense  amount  of 
work.  The  Economic  Gardens  were  founded  by  him  on 
ground  formerly  belonging  to  the  military  authorities, 
which  had  been  the  site  of  the  camp  of  a  West  Indian 
regiment.  He  originated  the  Forest  Department,  and 
made  the  first  proper  herbarium  in  Singapore.  At  the 
end  of  1887  his  health  broke  down,  and  he  died  in 
Australia  when  on  leave. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  H.N.  Ridley,  M.A.  (Oxon), 
F.L.S.,  in  November  1888.  The  services  of  Mr.  Ridley, 
who  retired  in  191 1,  are  too  recent  to  be  reviewed  at 
length.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  his  fine  herbarium  and  his 
indefatigable  literary  contributions  to  botanical  science 
throughout  a  career  of  practically  a  quarter  of  a  century 
in  Singapore  were  recognised  by  an  F.R.S.  in  1907,  a 
C.M.G.  in  191 1,  and  the  gold  medal  of  the  Rubber 
Growers*  Association  in  19 14. 

The  present  holder  of  the  post  is  Mr.  I.  H.  Burkill, 


M.A.  (Cantab.),  F.L.S.,  late  of  the  Botanic  Gardens  in 
Calcutta,  and  formerly  a  Principal  Assistant  at  Kew 
Gardens,  who  assumed  his  duties  in  the  Straits  Settle- 
ments in  October  191 2. 


Anecdotal  History  of  Singapore,  C.  B.  Buckley,   1902. 

Journ.  Str.  Br.  Roy.  Asiatic  Soc.  :  No.  33,  Jan.  1900  ;  No.  65,  Dec. 

Gardens  Bulletin  S.S.,  vol.  ii.  No.  2,  Aug.  1918  ;  vol.  ii,  No.  3,  Nov. 

Journ.  Ind.  Archip.,  vol.  i,  1847  ;  vol.  iii,  1849  ;    vol.  ix,  1855. 
Early  Col.  Records,  vols.  93,  loi,  103,  195,  220,  229,  310,  334,  671, 

751.  911. 
Proc.  Leg.  Co.,  1878,  App.  32. 
Diet.  Nat.  Biography  LIX. 


The  work  of  Henry  Nicholas  Ridley  in  the  Colony 
extends  from  the  25th  September  1888,  when  he  was 
appointed  to  be  Director  of  Forests  and  Gardens,  to  1 9 1 1 , 
when  he  retired.  Born  the  loth  December  1855,  he 
was  educated  at  Haileybury  and  Exeter  College,  Oxford, 
taking  his  M.A.  degree  and  winning  the  Burdett-Coutts 
Geological  Scholarship.  From  1880  to  1888  Mr.  Ridley 
was  assistant  in  the  Botanic  Department,  BritishMuseum, 
and  his  connection  with  the  Museum,  keeping  touch 
with  the  work  there  and  its  personnel,  has  been  of  the 
greatest  benefit  to  the  Colony.  In  1886  he  undertook 
a  trip  to  Brazil  for  the  Royal  Society,  and  came  out  to 
the  Straits  in  1888.     He  received  the  C.M.G.  in  191 1. 

Mr.  H.N.  Ridley's  work  for  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society, 
Straits  Branch,  is  contemporaneous  with  his  becoming 
a  member  in  1 890.  The  time  was  critical  for  the  Society, 
as  the  early  interest  had  died  out  and  new  members  had 
not  come  forward.  Mr..  Ridley's  interesting  personality 
and  wide  scientific  sympathies  soon  gave  birth  to  a  new 
order  of  things.  He  was  Honorary  Secretary  from  1890 
to  1893,  ^rid  again  from  1897  to  191 1,  when  he  retired 
and  was  made  an  honorary  member.     Writing  fluently 


n.  78] 


on  such  diverse  subjects  as  '*  A  Stone  Implement  in 
Singapore,"  "  A  Day  in  the  Cocos,"  "  On  the  Habits  of 
the  Karinga,"  "  The  Earthquake  of  1892,"  "  List  of 
Mammals  recorded  from  Penang,"  he  made  all  branches 
of  scientific  work  interesting,  his  qualifications  including 
Corresponding  Member  of  the  Pharmaceutical  Society 
and  Ethnological  Society  of  Moscow,  Member  of  the 
Zoological  Society  and  of  the  Society  for  Psychical 
Research,  Fellow  of  the  Linnean  Society,  the  Royal 
Horticultural  Society,  Society  of  Arts,  and  of  the  Royal 
Society.  His  work  in  the  East  has  largely  been  connected 
with  his  special  subject  of  botany,  and  his  work  in  con- 
nection with  the  flora  of  the  Malay  Peninsula  can  per- 
haps only  be  properly  appreciated  by  scientists.  He 
was  always  ready  to  discuss  horticulture  and  economic 
botany,  and  is  a  most  interesting  conversationalist. 

By  H.  Price 

Planting  on  the  island  of  Singapore  dates  back  to 
our  early  occupation  ;  and  many  kinds  of  crops  have 
been  tried,  and  have  not  all  been  successful ;  but  in  spite 
of  failures,  it  has  not  discouraged  the  trial  of  still  further 
plants.  The  soil,  on  the  whole,  is  not  very  good,  but  the 
rainfall,  being  rather  equally  distributed  over  the  year, 
is  a  help  to  certain  kinds  of  planting,  though  a  regular 
dry  season  (which  we  do  not  get)  is  necessary  to  others. 
More  of  the  fruits  we  eat  could  be  grown  here,  and  of 
better  quality,  but  there  does  not  seem  much  incHnation 
to  plant  fruit  gardens.  This  is  a  pity,  as  the  fresher 
fruit  is  the  better. 

The  planting  of  gambler  {Uncaria  gambir)  seems  to 
have  commenced  in  the  island  as  early  as  18 19.  An 
extract  is  made  from  it  by  macerating  the  leaves  and 
twigs  ;  this  makes  an  unholy-looking  mass,  which  is 
used  principally  for  tanning.  To  see  a  gang  of  coolies 
working   at   pressing   and   packing   this   article   might 


make  you  think  that  they  would  never  come  clean 
again  ;  but  most  Hkely  it  is  not  a  bad  thing  for  them, 
as  they  certainly  have  to  take  a  very  complete  bath 
to  get  rid  of  the  stuff.  For  a  time  the  planting  of 
gambler  extended  rapidly  up  to  500  estates,  inter- 
planted  with  a  certain  amount  of  pepper,  as  the  waste 
in  the  manufacture  of  gambler  makes  an  excellent 
manure  for  the  pepper  vine.  As  the  supplies  of  fuel 
became  scarce,  the  number  of  plantations  fell  off,  so 
that  by  1850  there  were  only  400,  and  in  1866  they 
were  rapidly  disappearing  ;  but  there  was  later  another 
rally,  because  more  labour  was  imported,  and  the 
demand  from  Europe  became  stronger;  so  that  by  1870 
the  amount  exported  was  up  to  34,550  tons,  about  half 
of  which  had  been  grown  on  the  island.  From  then 
onwards  it  steadily  increased  ;  but  though  in  1 892  there 
was  an  export  of  56,303  tons,  very  little  of  it  was 
growm  on  the  island.  Gambler  is  very  exhausting  to 
the  soil,  and  no  doubt  that  was  the  principal  reason 
why  it  was  given  up.  The  cultivation  died  out  slowly, 
and  up  to  the  'Nineties  there  w^ere  still  some  gambler 
and  pepper  gardens  in  the  western  part  of  the  island, 
but  none  now  exists.  In  1883  the  price  went  up,  and 
this  induced  Europeans  to  go  in  for  its  culture ;  but 
they  stood  no  chance  in  this  line  of  business  in  com- 
petition with  the  Chinese.  The  European  is  very  much 
handicapped  when  working  with  Chinese  coolies,  as 
their  own  countrymen  get  more  out  of  them  and  at  a 
cheaper  rate.  The  Chinese  also  manage  so  that  most 
of  the  wages  which  the  coolies  are  paid  come  back 
through  their  hands  as  payment  for  opium,  food,  and 
clothes.  They,  of  course,  understand  the  character  of 
the  Chinese  coohe  better  than  we  do,  and  to-day  much 
of  the  work  done  by  Chinese  on  rubber  estates  is  done 
through  Chinese  contractors.  The  cutting  off  of  the 
pigtail  does  not  so  far  seem  to  have  changed  the  attri- 
butes of  the  Chinese  very  much,  except  to  make  him 
far  less  picturesque.  He  is  by  nature  quite  a  good 
planter,  and  where  modern  science  does  not  come  in. 


his  lower  expenses  usually  enable  him  to  beat  the 
European ;  and  he  is  wilKng  to  copy  an  idea  when  he 
is  convinced  he  can  make  more  money  by  doing  so,  but 
he  is  slow  to  change. 

As  mentioned  above,  pepper  was  planted  in  conjunc- 
tion with  gambier,  and  naturally  it  died  out  with  it, 
though  the  name  *'  Singapore  black  pepper  "  is  still 
known  in  many  of  the  world's  markets.  This  qualit}^ 
is  not  in  nearly  such  good  odour  as  it  used  to  be,  a  fact 
largely  to  be  traced  to  the  manipulations  of  the  article 
by  the  Chinese  merchants  who  buy  and  prepare  most 
of  it,  and  sell  it  to  the  European  merchants.  I  have 
often  had  pepper  to  sell  direct  from  the  plantations, 
and  the  Chinese  would  pay  no  more  than  the  European 
merchants  ;  they  then  prepared  it,  and  sold  it  to  the 
European  merchants  at  a  profit.  European  merchants 
have  not  been  willing  to  buy  up  the  stocks  and  hold 
them  as  the  Chinese  have,  or  thoroughly  to  learn  the 
trade,  and  thus  see  that  they  received  what  they  ought 
to  have. 

Singapore  gets  the  produce  of  adjacent  places  ;  so 
with  the  decrease  of  gambier  and  pepper  on  the  island, 
the  Chinese  planted  near  by,  and  in  1895  Johore  had 
3,760  acres  planted,  mostly  with  coffee,  pepper,  and 
gambier,  and  some  4,000  acres  in  Cucob  with  sago  and 
coco-nuts.  There  were  at  times  around  the  district  a 
certain  number  of  European  planters  :  J.  R.  Watson 
and  S.  W.  Moorhouse  at  Batu  Pahat ;  J.  H.  M.  Staples 
(Cambus) ;  W.  W.  Bailey  (Pengarang) ;  J.  Halliday  (Loon 
Choo)  ;  H.  O.  Rowe  (Pulo  Layang) ;  and  on  Singapore 
Island  J.  W.  Angus  was  in  charge  of  300  acres  of  coco- 
nuts in  Bedok.  The  Chasseriau  Land  and  Planting  Co. 
was  in  liquidation.  R.  Dunman  was  at  Grove  Estate 
with  400  acres  of  coconuts,  and  C.  H.  Allen  was  Manager 
of  Perseverance  Estate,  Gaylang,  containing  450  acres 
planted  with  citronella,  patchouli,  and  pineapples. 
There  were  also  quite  a  number  of  small  estates,  mostly 
devoted  to  fruit-growing.  At  Pulo  Obin  C.  E.  St.  G. 
Caulfield  was  manager  of  a  Liberian  coffee  estate  of 


200  acres,  and  up  in  the  States  at  Krian  about  1 8,000  acres 
were  under  sugar,  only  four  Europeans  being  employed, 
the  rest  being  Chinese.     So  that  at  that   time  Malaya 
was  finding  billets  for  only  a  handful  of  Europeans, 
who  were  planting  various  products  which    have  since 
mostly  died.     The  rise  of  the  rubber-planting  industry 
has  found  employment  for  a  large  number  of  Europeans. 
You  might  now  ask  many  Europeans  in  Singapore 
what  a  nutmeg  tree  is  Hke,  and  they  could  not  tell 
you  ;   but  time  back  the  planting  of  this  spice  was  an 
important  industry  in  Singapore   and  the  Straits,  and 
Singapore  Island  had  quite  extensive  nutmeg  gardens. 
This  tree  was  introduced  in   181 8  (Dennys) ;  by  1843 
there  were  about  43,500  trees,  and  in  1848  4,000,000 
nuts  were  produced.     In  1843  the  district  of  Tanglin 
consisted   of  barren-looking    hills   covered  with    short 
brushwood   and   lalang.     This   was   the   result    of   the 
deserted  gambier  plantations,  and  immediately  on  the 
inauguration    of  granting  land   in  perpetuity  in   that 
year  a  large  number  of  nutmeg  trees  were  planted  in 
this  district.     Dr.  Montgomerie  had  a  nutmeg  garden 
of  forty  acres  on  the  south  side  of  Neil  Road  extending 
to    Tanjong    Pagar    Road,    and    including    the    houses 
named  Everton  and  Duxton  ;   the  former  was  occupied 
in  1872  by  the  mess  of  the  19th  Madras  N.I.  ;  but  by 
that  time  there   could   not   have  been  many  nutmeg 
trees  left,  as  in  1 848  a  curious  disease  of  the  nut,  resem- 
bling leprosy  in  the  human  being  (Dr.  Little  in  /.  /.  A., 
vol.  iii,   p.   679),  broke  out  in   Penang,   causing  great 
havoc  amongst  the  trees  ;  and  in  Singapore  it  did  quite 
a  lot  of  damage,  and  became  so  fatal  that  by  1 862  the 
cultivation  of  nutmegs  had  entirely  ceased.     An  article 
was  written  in   1850  by  Colonel  Low  on  the  nutmeg 
plantations  of  Singapore,  so  they  were  not  quite  gone 
at  that  time.     The  last  talk  of  nutmegs  seems  to  have 
been  in    1880,   when   Mr.   Cantley  mentions   that   the 
plants  in  the  Garden's  nursery  looked  very  promising, 
and  seemed  as  if  preparing  for  another  cycle  of  satis- 
factory growth  in  the  Settlements  ;  but  this  never  seems 


to  have  been  realised,  and  planting  nutmegs  is  a  thing 
of  the  past  for  Singapore. 

Tapioca  {cassava ;  Malay — Ubi  kaya)  was  also  a 
favourite  cultivation  of  the  Chinese  here  up  to  the 
'Eighties  ;  but  it  is  a  very  exhausting  crop,  and  the 
abandoned  tapioca  estates  turned  into  the  extensive 
stretches  of  lalang  that  formerly  existed  on  the  island, 
and  only  after  a  number  of  years  returned  to  bluker 
undergrowth,  which  in  due  course  has  been  mostly 
planted  with  rubber.  In  1880  Trafalgar  Estate  had 
1,000  acres  in  tapioca.  The  planting  of  this  crop  in 
large  blocks  has  died  out,  but  it  is  still  planted  in  small 
patches  all  over  the  island  for  food  for  the  native 
population.  It  is  said  that  exhausted  tapioca  ground 
takes  fifteen  years  to  recover. 

The  sago  palm  never  seems  to  have  been  grown  very 
much  here,  and  no  doubt  one  reason  is  that  it  takes 
some  twelve  years  to  mature.  The  last  block  of  this 
palm  from  which  sago  flour  was  made  was  at  about  the 
ninth  mile  at  Changi  Road,  where  a  small  business  was 
carried  on  in  this  article,  the  flour  being  made  by 
crushing  the  pith  from  the  palm.  There  is  still  a  sago 
factory  in  Singapore,  but  it  is  not  supplied  from  palms 
grown  on  the  island. 

Cotton  has  also  been  tried,  but  it  is  one  of  those 
things  that  this  climate  is  not  suitable  for,  as  it  requires 
a  dry  season  for  the  pods  to  ripen  and  be  gathered.  It 
was  tried  by  Mr.  T.  O.  Crane,  with  Mr.  Jose  d 'Almeida 
and  the  late  Babu  Whampoa,  in  his  coconut  planta- 
tion facing  the  sea  at  Tanjong  Katong,  where  he  had 
samples  of- the  Capas  murice,  the  Bourbon  Mauritius 
variety.  Mr.  Crane  got  a  number  of  varieties  from 
his  brother  at  Calcutta,  but  the  trial  was  unsatisfac- 
tory, and  the  attempt  to  grow  cotton  was  given  up. 
There  was  quite  a  talk  later  of  interplanting  it  with 
rubber,  and  a  certain  amount  was  tried  by  the  Chinese, 
but  again  it  was  not  successful. 

Before  the  days  of  synthetic  indigo  this  plant  was 
extensively  cultivated  by  the  Chinese  twenty  or  thirty 


years  ago  on  the  low-lying  ground  at  the  west  of 
Thomson  Road,  and  a  common  sight  on  that  road  was 
a  string  of  coolies  carrying  the  thick  liquid,  giving  out 
a  terrible  musty  smell,  in  baskets  lined  with  cloth  that 
looked  as  if  they  must  leak.  Some  indigo  dyeing  is 
still  done  in  that  quarter. 

Lemon  grass  (Malay — serai)  is  the  plant  from  which 
citronella  oil  is  extracted,  a  scent  used  largely  in  the 
manufacture  of  toilet  soaps,  and  it  seems  to  grow  well 
here.  There  are  small  patches  in  various  places ;  but 
no  attempt  seems  to  be  made  to  plant  it  on  a  com- 
mercial scale  since  the  palmy  days  of  Perseverance 
Estate,  which  was  started  by  Mr.  J.  Fisher  and  carried 
on  by  Mr.  C.  Allen,  the  latter  of  whom,  by  the  way, 
accompanied  Mr.  A.  R.  Wallace  on  his  journeys  through 
the  Malay  Archipelago.  Perseverance  Estate  seems  to 
have  come  to  the  end  of  its  perseverance  in  the  'Nineties, 
but  some  of  the  children  of  Mr.  Allen  remain  in  the 

It  will  be  seen  that  planting  has  been  carried  on 
during  the  hundred  years  that  we  have  occupied  the 
island,  and  at  the  present  time  I  suppose  more  of  the 
island  is  planted  than  ever  before  with  rubber. 


By  H.  Price 

What  I  have  to  write  about  has  Aothing  to  do  with 
the  wonderful  growth  of  rubber  planting  in  Malaya,  but 
of  a  result  that  necessarily  followed,  namely,  the  trade 
in  rubber  done  at  Singapore.  London  was  practically 
the  rubber  market  of  the  world,  and  at  the  time  of  the 
flotation  of  many  of  the  planting  companies  clauses 
were  put  in  the  Articles  of  Association  giving  the  sale 
of  their  rubber  exclusively  for  a  number  of  years  to 
certain  English  firms,  some  of  which  had  branches  out 
here,  so  that  the  whole  tendency  of  these  conditions 
was  to  keep  the  trade  in  London  rather  than  Singapore. 


The   rubber   trade,   therefore,   grew  very  slowly   here; 
and  it  was  no  wonder,  when  estates  absolutely  refused 
to  sell  rubber  locally  at  any  price,  and  practically  all  the 
early  sales  were  made  through  London.     One  of  the  first 
I  can  trace  was  a  sale  made  by  Barlow  and  Co.,  early  in 
1904,  of  Bukit  Rajah  biscuits  at  a  price  of  $270  per  pikul. 
Most  of  the  rubber  was  not  sold  at  all  here,  but  was 
shipped  to  London  for  sale  there.     Some  of  the  Chinese 
had  planted  quite  early,  and  though  most  of  their  best 
estates  were  sold  to  London  companies,  some  remained 
in  Chinese  hands,  and  others  were  turned  into  Singapore 
and  Shanghai  companies.     In  1908  several  firms,  notably 
Guthrie's,  began  to  sell  rubber  here,  but  the  quantities 
were  small ;  also  some  Chinese  sold  at  their  shops  the 
lower  grades  they  were  making.     In  1910  Guthrie's,  the 
largest  European  sellers,  averaged  about  7$   pikuls  a 
month,  and  in  191 1  about  90  pikuls  ;  the  highest  price 
they  reached  was  $640  per  pikul  in  191 1,  but  sales  were 
made  at  over  $700.     The  buyers  in  those  days  did  not 
have  a  good  time,  for  though  they  begged  for  more  and 
better  quality  rubber,  they  did  not  get  it,  as  London  was 
considered  quite  invincible,  and  influenced  the  branches 
here  to  retard  the  trade  as  much  as  possible.     But  the 
Chinese  by  degrees  obtained  larger  quantities,  and  a  plan 
was  instituted  by  which  European  and  Chinese  buyers 
went  round  to  the  Chinese  chops  that  had  rubber  to 
sell  and  bought  it,  on  the  system  of  the  numbers  of  the 
lots  being  put  on  a  piece  of  paper  and  each  buyer  filhng 
in  the  price  he  would  give.     The  slips  were  handed  in, 
and  the  highest  bidder  was  supposed  to  get  it.     The 
system   was   very   slow   and   cumbersome,    and   many 
firms  sent  their  Chinese  storekeepers  to  buy  for  them. 
Arrangements  for  the  storekeepers  to  get  return  com- 
missions  on   the  lots   they  bought   did   not   help,   but 
for  a  time  it  was  the  only  way  we  could   get  much 

The  greater  part  of  the  Chinese  rubber  came  here  in  the 
form  of  unsmoked  sheet,  very  bad  to  look  at  and  of  a 
coarse  smell,   and   to   overcome  this   the  system   was 


started  of  rewashing  these  sheets  and  making  them 
into  what  was  called  "  blanket  crepe,"  a  very  remunera- 
tive business.  I  have  been  told  that  at  least  200 
machines  were  at  work  in  Singapore  turning  sheets 
into  blanket ;  but  though  small  quantities  of  this  quality 
are  still  sold,  it  is  not  generally  in  demand,  partly 
due  to  the  chance  it  gives  of  mixing  in  certain  quantities 
of  inferior  rubber,  which  does  not  show  much  at  the  time, 
but  later  causes  the  blanket  to  go  soft.  It  was  a  system 
to  overcome  the  want  of  knowledge  in  preparing  the 
rubber,  and  was  really  wasteful,  because  it  would  be 
cheaper  to  prepare  the  rubber  properly  at  first.  With 
time,  as  the  small  growers  find  this  out,  it  should  entirely 
die  out,  but  it  helped  over  the  early  period,  and  showed 
the  Americans  that  we  had  something  to  sell.  At  times 
Mincing  Lane  lights  drifted  through  to  look  at  planta- 
tions they  were  interested  in  and  such  like,  and  they 
always  clearly  pointed  out  that  we  should  never  be  able 
to  make  a  market  here.  We  did  not  say  much,  but  kept 
on  at  it,  and  even  before  the  War  came  we  had  made 
ourselves  distinctly  felt.  The  early  part  of  the  War 
did  not  help  us  at  first,  on  account  of  finance,  and  then 
an  embargo  compelled  us  to  send  all  rubber  through 
England.  Had  this  lasted  it  might  have  been  serious 
for  us  in  the  trade ;  but  the  embargo  was  lifted,  and 
the  London  auctions  had  been  stopped.  Though  some 
do  not  agree  with  me,  I  believe  this  was  a  distinct  help 
to  us,  as  our  auctions  made  a  definite  market,  so  that 
buying  and  selling  of  large  quantities  became  easy. 
The  chance  came,  and  we  started  to  ship  via  the  Pacific, 
and  gave  the  American  railways  an  eye-opener  which 
has  taken  them  years  to  get  level  with ;  and  had  it  not 
been  for  the  restrictions,  it  is  doubtful  when  they  could 
have  done  it.  Anyhow,  it  has  taught  them  to  use  their 
lines.  Probably  over  50,000  tons,  of  a  value  of  sixty  to 
eighty  million  dollars,  was  shipped  from  here  in  1 9 1 7.  The 
position  of  Singapore  as  a  shipping  port  was  always  in 
its  favour,  and  taking  it  altogether,  the  business  has 
been  done  cleanly,  which  must  tell  in  time. 

The  Rubber  Association 


The  Rubber  Association  was  started  in  Singapore 
with  the  main  idea  of  having  local  auctions,  and  the 
first  was  held  on  the  12th  September  1911,  when 
there  were  put  up  for  sale  one  lot  of  Coghlan  and  Co. 
and  ten  lots  of  Guthrie  and  Co.,  the  total  offered  being 
66.75  pikuls.  The  firm  buying  the  first  lot  was  Gino, 
Fertile  and  Co.,  and  the  total  amount  sold  was  24.32 
pikuls.  Soon  Barlow  and  Co.,  Powell  and  Co.,  and  Behn, 
Meyer  and  Co.  came  in  as  sellers,  while  the  buyers  in 
those  early  days  were  Fertile  and  Co.,  Moraux  and  Co., 
Curry,  Forweg  and  Co.,  East  Asiatic  Co.,  Dunlop  Rubber 
Co.,  Otto  Isenstein  and  Co.,  H.  Frice  and  Co.,  Low  Feng 
Soy,  Wah  Hong  Seng  Kee,  and  the  East  Indies  Trading 
Co.  Boustead  and  Co.  came  in  as  sellers  at  the  tenth 
auction,  and  after  fifty-five  auctions  the  buyers  and 
sellers  were  practically  the  same,  except  that  Faterson, 
Simons  and  Co.  and  Goodall  and  Co.  had  come  in  as  sellers. 

Frices  in  the  early  days  were  about  $276  per  pikul  for 
pale  crepe,  $266  smoked  sheets,  and  $186  bark  crepei 
From  the  12th  September  191 1  to  the  end  of  the  year 
84  tons  were  put  up  and  mostly  sold  ;  and  in  subsequent 
years  the  amount  of  rubber  put  up  and  sold  at  the 
Singapore  auctions  was  as  follows  : — • 

1912  . 

1913  . 

1914  . 

1915  . 

1917  . 

I9i»   . 

Though  in  later  years  a  good  deal  was  withdrawn, 
the  greater  part  of  it  was  sold  between  auctions,  and 
sold  more  or  less  as  the  result  of  the  rubber  having 
been  put  up  to  auction ;  so  that  practically  the  whole 
of  the  63,381  tons  offered  to  the  end  of  191 7  has  been 
sold  as  the  result  of  these  auctions,  and  it  is  plain  that 
the  rubber  trade  of  Singapore  would  not  have  progressed 
so  rapidly  if  they  had  not  been  estabhshed.  Many  have 
spoken  against  them,  but  they  established  a  basis  of 



599  tons 

522  tons 

1,695    ., 

1,508    „ 

3.685    .. 

2,666    „ 

11,167    .. 

7.322    „ 

24.699    ,. 

16,659    „ 

41.452    „ 

24,316    „ 

51,161     „ 

31.663    „ 


price  on  which  both  buyer  and  seller  could  work ;  their 
value  to  the  stability  of  the  trade  is  to  be  found  in  the 
fact  that  Singapore  is  the  only  place  that  has  carried 
on  its  auctions  continuously.  The  price  at  an  auction 
is  public  property,  and  assists  as  a  basis  for  outside 
sales,  by  which  otherwise  a  small  buyer  would  be 
badly  squeezed. 

The  machinery  of  the  Rubber  Association  will  be 
improved  as  time  goes  on.  Some  qualities  of  rubber 
have  already  been  standardised,  and  forward  contracts 
made  on  a  known  basis.  Arbitrations  have  worked 
out  very  fairly,  and  a  sound  basis  established  for 
future  development.  One  thing  is  badly  needed — a 
proper  building,  and  the  savings  by  the  Committee 
have  been  made  with  this  object  in  view.  The 
Association  was  formed  by  men  of  the  "  City  Father" 
type,  who  appointed  themselves,  whose  interests  were 
mainly  in  London  ;  but  this  soon  righted  itself,  and  men 
inside  the  business  practically  acquainted  with  its 
intricacies  and  enormous  possibilities  have  come  on  to 
the  Committee,  men  who  recognise  that  the  general  good 
of  the  trade  and  the  port  must  outweigh  any  private 


By  H.  Price 

The  earliest  use  of  rubber  is  prehistoric,  for  Cortes, 
when  he  went  to  Peru,  found  the  natives  using  it  for 
balls,  waterproofing  their  coats,  and  making  various 
utensils.  The  most  important  step  forward  in  the  use 
of  rubber  was  Goodyear's  discovery  of  the  process  of 
vulcanisation,  by  mixing  the  rubber  with  sulphur  and 
heating  it,  about  1839  in  America,  improved  by  Han- 
cock in  England  in  1 842.  The  rubber  trade  is,  therefore, 
modern,  and  of  very  rapid  growth.  The  next  great  step 
was  in  1876,  when  Wickham  brought  the  seeds  of  the 
Hevea  from  Brazil  to  London,  these  being  the  parent 
stock  of  all  the  plantations  out  in  the  East,  and  without 


which  how  different  would  have  been  the  rubber  trade 
of  to-day  !  The  islands  of  Singapore  and  Ceylon  have 
been  the  two  centres  from  which  all  these  immense 
plantations  have  spread.  Many  mistakes  were  made  at 
first,  such  as  planting  the  rubber  in  the  swampy  places, 
to  try  to  imitate  the  flooded  districts  of  the  Amazon. 
The  trees  first  planted  here  were  in  a  pretty  damp  place, 
but  it  was  found  that  rubber  must  be  planted  in  undu- 
lating or  drained  ground.  Too  dry  situations,  of  course, 
give  a  poor  flow  of  latex.  As  a  new  industry,  and  one 
that  involves  a  wait  of  five  years  for  its  result,  of  course 
it  had  many  difficulties  to  solve,  and  many  experiments 
have  been  tried  on  this  island,  such  as  the  proper  dis- 
tance to  plant  apart  and  the  best  method  of  tapping  to 
get  a  proper  bark  renewal.  As  many  trees  out  here 
do  not  winter,  and  as  the  Hevea  does,  it  is  not  so  strange 
that  one  of  the  best-known  estates,  when  the  leaves 
began  to  fall,  thought  that  it  was  some  disease  attacking 
the  trees,  and  cut  a  lot  of  them  out  before  they  dis- 
covered their  error.  They  were  sorry  afterwards  when 
rubber  was  at  12s.  (twelve  shillings)  a  pound;  but  the 
men  who  were  running  the  business  were  not  dis- 
heartened by  this  and  other  errors,  and  the  Hevea  is  such 
a  hardy  tree  to  grow,  and  seems  so  well  suited  to  this 
climate,  that  successful  companies  have  paid  200  to 
300  per  cent.  Other  kinds  of  rubber  have  been  tried 
out,  such  as  the  Ficus  elasticay  the  native  tree,  but  it 
does  not  pay  well.  A  certain  amount  of  Castilloa  and 
Ceara  has  been  planted,  but  though  the  rubber  is  good, 
it  cannot  compete  with  the  Hevea^  save  for  specific 

The  Americans  spent  much  money  planting  rubber 
in  Mexico,  but  it  was  quite  a  failure.  The  Dutch,  with 
seed  of  Singapore  origin,  started  in  their  Eastern 
Colonies  to  plant  some  time  behind  us,  and  have  done 
well,  profiting  by  our  experience,  and  showing  their 
skill  as  planters.  We  cannot  boast  of  the  largest  rubber 
plantation  in  the  world.  That  is  in  Sumatra,  and 
belongs  to  an  American  company ;  but  one  of  the  head 


men  was  from  the  Straits,  where  he  had  been  working 
for  the  Government  Agricultural  Department. 

Tim  Bailey,  Malcolm  Gumming,  E.  V.  Carey,  Larkin, 
and  many  others  are  gone  (some,  perhaps,  to  find  the 
streets  of  heaven  paved  with  rubber  instead  of  gold, 
though  rubber  produced  their  gold),  but  the  result  of 
their  labourstill  flourishes  in  the  handsof  their  successors. 
Mr.  H.N.  Ridley,  C.M.G.,  was  fortunately  at  the  head 
of  the  Singapore  Botanical  Gardens  during  the  long 
period  of  early  planting,  and  the  trade  will  never  realise 
what  they  owe  to  his  hard  work  and  optimism  regarding 
the  future  of  the  industry.  He  was  indefatigable,  and 
always  pleasant  and  willing  to  help  all  who  went  to  him. 
It  was  through  his  instrumentality  that  the  Chinese 
came  in  during  the  early  days,  and  many  of  the  English 
plantations  started  originally  with  a  block  of  rubber 
planted  by  the  Chinese,  to  which  they  added,  and  though 
some  of  it  was  not  too  well  planted,  it  made  money  to 
develop  the  estates  further. 

The  Malay  Peninsula  had  very  little  suitable  labour 
for  planting,  so  it  had  to  be  imported,  and  the  principal 
recruits  have  been  Tamils,  Chinese,  and  Javanese,  and 
we  have  had  thus  to  contend  with  more  expensive  labour 
than  in  Ceylon  or  Java.  In  the  early  days  we  had 
indentured  labour,  and  there  were  daily  quotations  for 
coolies,  according  to  quality ;  but  that  has  been  stopped, 
and  now  there  is  quite  a  flourishing  business  in  securing 
free  coolies  from  India  or  China,  or  even  locally. 

On  the  island  of  Singapore  there  is  a  number  of  rubber 
estates,  but  much  of  the  soil  is  not  the  best  suited  for 
the  cultivation.  They  are  principally  owned  by  Chinese, 
but  there  are  seven  European  estates.  The  craze  for 
planting  was  so  great  at  one  time  that  a  large  number 
of  gardens  have  rubber  trees  planted  in  them,  not 
sufficient  in  number  to  be  worth  tapping ;  but  this  shows 
how  the  industry  took  hold  of  the  place.  The  fairly 
well-to-do  Chinaman  likes  to  have  a  plantation  on  the 
island  which  he  can  visit  on  Sunday,  combining  business 
and  pleasure. 


How  much  the  few  seeds  that  came  here  helped 
Singapore  it  is  quite  impossible  to  say.  There  is 
probably  more  rubber  passing  through  Singapore  now 
than  through  any  other  place  in  the  world,  and  in  one 
way  and  another  most  people  of  the  place  benefit.  A 
thousand  tons  of  rubber  are  weekly  put  up  at  the 
auctions,  worth  about  ;^200,ooo,  and  this  is  only  about 
a  third  of  the  rubber  being  dealt  in.  And  yet  there  is 
no  Rubber  Exchange  ! 


"  Recollections  of  the  Introduction  of  Planting  in  the 
S.S.  and  F.M.S./'  by  Walter  Fox,  formerly  Super- 
intendent Forests  and  Gardens,  Penang. 

I  well  remember  the  day,  in  the  early  spring  of  1879, 
when  Sir  Joseph  Hooker,  the  then  Director  of  Kew 
Gardens,  brought  round  to  my  department  in  Kew 
Gardens  Sir  William  Robinson,  Governor  of  the  Straits 
Settlements,  who  was  at  home  on  leave,  to  see  me. 
Sir  Joseph  having  recommended  me  for  the  position 
of  Assistant  Superintendent  of  the  Botanic  Garden, 
Singapore,  then  vacant.  The  result  of  the  interview 
was  that  I  left  England  for  Singapore  in  July  of  1879 
in  the  s.s.  Glencoe,  and  arrived  in  Singapore  in  August, 
the  voyage  taking  exactly  thirty-one  days.  (Inci- 
dentally, I  made  the  same  passage  thirty-nine  years 
later,  and  the  time  occupied  in  getting  to  Penang  was 
two  months  and  one  day ;  but,  there,  the  former  voyage 
was  unhampered  by  submarines  and  other  deadly 

In  those  somewhat  far-off  days  planting,  as  we  know 
it  now,  did  not  exist — indeed,  it  was  hardly  born.  I 
believe  Sir  Graham  Elphinstone  had  planted  a  small 
quantity  of  coffee  around  the  Hermitage  in  Perak.  At 
the  Singapore  end  the  first  attempt  at  coffee-planting 
was  at  Gunong  Pulai,  in  which  the  late  Mr.  Burkinshaw 
was  interested,  and  Mr.  E.  J.  Watson  was  also  connected 
with  it.     It  was  not  a  success,  however,  the  elevation 


•not  being  enough  for  Arabian  coffee,  I  well  remember 
visiting  Gunong  Pulai,  I  think  it  was  in  1880,  and  I 
shall  never  forget  seeing  the  long  string  of  coolies  wait- 
ing for  treatment  by  the  apothecary,  seeming  to  be 
suffering  from  all  sorts  of  diseases,  but  malaria  was  by 
far  the  most  prevalent  form  of  complaint.  This  sick- 
ness of  the  coolies  was  one  of  the  main  factors  in  closing 
down  Gunong  Pulai  as  an  estate.  About  this  time 
Liberian  coffee  was  coming  into  prominence  in  replacing 
the  Arabian  variety.  Its  value  lay  in  the  possession  of 
two  valuable  factors  :  its  disease-resisting  power  and 
its  adaptability  for  growing  at  sea-level.  It  was  only  a 
few  years  before  that  Ceylon  coffee-planters  had  been 
ruined  by  the  coffee-leaf  disease  {Hemilia  vastatrix) ; 
consequently,  a  coffee  which  resisted  the  attack  of  this 
dreaded  disease  was  a  valuable  acquisition.  The 
Gardens  Department  in  Singapore,  as  well  as  the  late 
Mr.  Edwin  Koek,  derived  a  considerable  revenue  from 
selling  Liberian  coffee  seeds  at  one  cent  each.  This 
was  the  species  of  coffee  which  was  planted  afterwards 
in  the  F.M.S.,  preceding  the  rubber  boom,  and  which  a 
well-known  planter  once  referred  to  when  he  was  asked 
to  plant  rubber  :  "  Be  hanged  to  your  rubber,  coffee  is 
good  enough  for  me."  Yes,  coffee  was  then  $25  per 
pikul ;  but  that  same  planter  altered  his  opinion  by 
enquiring:  "  Well,  what  is  this  rubber  you  have  been 
talking  about,  how  does  it  grow,"  etc.  ?  Needless  to  say 
that  gentleman  never  regretted  the  fall  in  the  price  of 
coffee,  which  was  the  cause  of  directing  his  attention  to 

To  go  back,  however,  for  a  moment  to  1879,  in  those 
days  the  only  plantations  or  estates  in  Singapore  were 
gambier  and  pepper,  with  two  notable  exceptions,  one 
being  Mr.  Chasseriau's  tapioca  estate  adjoining  Bukit 
Timah  and  the  other  the  Trafalgar  Tapioca  Estate  at 
Seletar.  In  that  year  Mr.  Chasseriau  was  in  Europe, 
and  the  estate  was  in  charge  of  Messrs  Perks  and  de 
Boinville.  The  cultivation  of  tapioca  on  this  estate 
I  have  never  seen  excelled  anywhere,  the  estate  being  kept 

MR.  W.  W.  BAILEY  93 

like  a  garden.  Mr.  Chasseriau  was  a  martinet,  and  had 
a  most  ingenious  method  of  getting  the  maximum  amount 
of  work  out  of  his  cooUes.  His  system  was  perfect  in 
itssimpHcity,and  consisted  of  working  cooHes  of  different 
nationahties  together.  For  instance,  when  changkolhng 
a  fallow-field,  he  would  place,  say,  a  gang  of  twenty-five 
Chinese  in  the  middle  position,  flanking  them  on  either 
side  with  the  same  number  of  Klings  and  Javanese. 
Anyone  who  knows  the  respective  values  of  the  three 
nationalities  for  such  work  will  appreciate  how  theKHngs 
and  the  Javanese  must  have  worked  to  keep  up  with 
the  stalwart  Chinese.  Each  section  had  a  mandore 
marching  up  and  down  behind  the  lines,  shouting 
frequently  ^^  jalan  jalan."  For  this  real  hard  work  the 
prevailing  rate  of  pay  of  the  Klings  and  Javanese  was 
$4  per  mensem.  It  is  said,  too,  that  a  check  was  kept 
on  the  mandores,  to  see  whether  they  had  been  sitting 
down,  by  an  examination  of  the  seats  of  their  trousers. 
Some  years  afterwards,  when  tapioca  declined  in  value, 
it  was  discarded  for  coffee  ;  but  for  one  reason  or  another 
this  was  not  a  success,  and  the  once  flourishing  estate 
languished  until  the  rubber  boom  set  things  in  motion 
again,  and  a  certain  portion  of  the  estate  was  put  under 
rubber,  and  another  portion  later  was  purchased  by 
the  Municipality,  as  it  lay  within  the  watershed  of  the 
town  supply. 

Among  the  earliest  attempts  at  planting  must  be 
mentioned  an  attempt  to  open  up  at  Gunong  Pantei,  and 
also  the  late  Mr.  Abrams's  speculation  in  cacao  up  the 
Johore  River,  at  an  estate  he  named  "  Theobroma," 
literally,  ^'the  food  of  the  gods."  Both  ventures,  how- 
ever, were  not  very  successful,  the  latter  being  eventually 
turned  into  a  rubber  estate.  About  this  time  the  late  Mr. 
W.  W.  Bailey  appeared  on  the  scene,  Messrs.  S.  R.  Carr, 
of  J.  Little  and  Co.,  and  F.  G.  Davidson,  of  the  P.  and  O. 
Co.,  being  associated  with  him  as  partners.  They  opened 
up  an  estate  on  the  east  side  of  Singapore,  at  Pengerang, 
with  cacao,  and  on  the  lower  portion  of  the  estate  with 
sago,  in  what  was  practically  a  swamp.     The  writer  very 


well  remembers  taking  a  trip  up  the  Johore  River  to 
Theobroma  and  Gunong  Pantei,  with  Messrs.  Abrams, 
Bailey,  and  Liddelow,  the  last  at  the  time  being  Manager 
of  Sayle  and  Co.,  at  the  corner  of  Raffles  Square,  opposite 
Katz  Bros.  On  our  return  journey  we  stopped  at 
Pengerang  to  drop  Bailey,  arriving  there  at  about  3  a.m. 
We  all  saw  him  to  his  bungalow,  and  as  a  short  cut  he 
took  us  through  the  sago  palms.  The  other  three  are 
dead  now,  but  I  shall  never  forget  that  short  cut  ;  it 
had  been  raining,  and  we  had  to  walk  and  balance  our- 
selves on  small  tree- trunks  made  slippery  with  mud. 
The  consequence  was  that  we  were  constantly  slipping 
off  into  the  mud  up  to  our  knees,  the  only  light  to  guide 
us  being  a  flickering  torch.  I  think  the  only  man  who 
saw  the  joke  was  "  Tim  "  himself  ;  but  we  soon  recovered 
under  his  genial  influence,  aided  by  a  good  peg. 

I  regret  to  say  that  notwithstanding  that  I  planted  the 
first  plant  of  cacao  on  Pengerang,  the  venture  was  un- 
successful. It  was  most  curious  to  note  the  cause  of 
failure,  and  equally  difficult  to  account  for  it.  In  taking 
a  line  one  would  meet  plants  in  every  stage  of  develop- 
ment, good,  very  good,  bad,  and  very  bad,  so  much  so 
that  the  venture  was  turned  down  and  the  cacao  pulled 
up.  Nutmegs  were  fixed  on  to  follow  the  cacao,  and  if 
good  growth  and  uniformity  had  been  the  only  requisites 
for  a  money-making  proposition,  then  Pengerang  would 
have  been  a  model  estate.  But,  alas,  they  were  not !  It 
must  here  be  explained  that  nutmeg  trees  may  be  either 
male  or  female,  that  is  to  say,  one  tree  produces  only 
male  flowers  and  another  tree  only  female  flowers ;  nor 
are  there  any  means  of  knowing  which  are  males  and 
which  are  females  before  they  flower.  In  this  case, 
however,  there  were  more  male  than  female  trees,  and  as 
the  former  are  no  good  for  producing  the  nutmeg,  the 
venture  was  failure  number  two.  This  was  enough  for 
W.  W.  He  shook  the  dust  of  Pengerang  off  his  feet  and 
migrated  to  Klang,  where  he  opened  with  coffee  the 
famous  Highlands  and  Lowlands  Estate.  Although  he 
was  one  of  the  pioneers  in  the  F.M.S.,  he  was  by  no  means 


the  earliest.  Among  his  predecessors  were  the  Hon. 
Martin  Lister  and  Mr.  W.  R.  Rowland.  They,  of  course, 
planted  coffee,  choosing  Sungei  Ujong  for  their  estate. 
They,  too,  were  the  first  to  plant  Hevea,  not,  however,  in 
estate  form,  but  in  the  position  of  marking  boundaries 
and  such-like  places.  I  believe  they  made  a  considerable 
amount  of  money  in  selling  seeds  at  a  cent  apiece.  One 
of  the  earliest,  if  not  the  very  earliest,  of  planters  in  the 
F.M.S.  was  the  late  Walter  Stephenson,  in  conjunction 
with  his  brother,  who  was  a  chemist  at  Maynard's  in 
Dr.  Bentley's  time.  Subsequently  they  were  joined  b}^ 
a  younger  brother,  Percy.  They  opened  near  Klang, 
calling  their  estate  **  Beverley,"  after  their  native  place 
in  Yorkshire.  Opening  first  with  pepper,  afterwards  it 
became  a  coffee  estate,  and  finally  rubber. 

We  are  now  coming  to  the  time  when,  in  addition  to 
the  genial  "  Tim,"  were  the  Parrys,  the  Kindersleys, 
and  the  Darbys,  not  forgetting  the  brothers  Stevens  at 
Jebong,  in  Perak,  where,  I  believe,  the  first  commercial 
rubber  biscuits  were  made,  the  rolling  machinery  con- 
sisting of  a  champagne  bottle.  I  must  not  forget  to 
relate  an  incident  which  brings  Johore,  if  not  to  the 
earliest  place  where  rubber  was  planted,  at  any  rate 
to  a  good  second.  In  the  early  'Nineties  the  writer  was 
Acting  Director  in  Singapore,  when  a  despatch  was 
received  from  Mr.  J.  Chamberlain,  the  then  Secretary 
for  the  Colonies,  on  the  subject  of  the  adulteration  of 
gambler.  I  was  requested  to  write  a  report  on  the 
subject.  To  do  so,  I  had  to  visit  all  the  countries  round 
about  to  get  information.  At  that  time  Mr.  Larkin  was 
planting  gambler  in  Johore,  and  trying  his  best  to  im- 
prove the  article  by  various  methods,  including  the  use 
of  copper  pans  for  boiling  the  gambler  in  place  of  the 
iron  pans  used  by  the  Chinese.  I  stayed  with  him  for 
some  days,  and  he  was  very  helpful  to  me  in  giving  me 
all  the  information  he  could  for  my  report. 

In  the  early  days  of  rubber  planting,  when  general 
attention  was  being  given  to  it  by  all  the  planters  in  the 
Far  East,  it  was  found  necessary  to  adopt  a  system  of 


regulating  the  supply  of  rubber  seeds  to  the  various 
purchasers.     It  was  laid  down  that  the  needs  of  the 
Colony  came  first,  next  the  F.M.S.,  and  then  anyone  else 
in  the  priority  of  their  application.     The  consequence 
was  that  we  had  not  sufficient  to  supply  all  the  demands 
of  the  two  first-named  places.     It  was  at  this  time  Mr. 
Larkin  came  to  the  Gardens  Office  to  see  if  he  could  be 
supplied.     He  was  shown  the  order  book,  and  saw  how 
hopeless  it  was  to  expect  any  supply  in  the  ordinary  way 
except  at  some  very  distant  future.     I  felt  very  sorry  for 
him,  and,  remembering  his  kindness  to  me  when  I  was 
studying  the  gambier  question,  I  began  to  try  to  think 
how  I  could  help  him  without  being  unjust  to  the  others. 
I  saw  a  way  of  helping  him.     In  those  days  we  used  to 
pack  down  Hevea  seeds  in  dollar-boxes  we  got  from  the 
bank — each  box  held  about,  I  think,  300.     In  filling  the 
different  boxes  for  sending  away  to  the  Colony  and  F.M.S. 
there  would  always  be  a  broken  lot  left  over.     These  I 
used  to  put  aside  for  Mr.  Larkin  and  send  them  to  Johore 
by  the  horse-bus,  and  in  such  a  manner  that  he  got  nearly 
as  many  seeds  as  though  he  had  been  among  the  favoured 
few.     Such  was  the  origin  of  Mount  Austin.     The  con- 
version of  such  estates  as  the  Caledonia  group  and  Mala- 
koff  from  sugar  and  tapioca  respectively  to  rubber  I  do 
not  propose  to  mention  here,  as  it  would  take  me  beyond 
the  limits  of  my  task. 

Such,  in  brief,  are  a  few  of  the  recollections  of  the  early 
days  of  planting,  including  rubber.  Of  the  latter  product 
I  may  say  that  I  have  practically  grown  up  with  it  ;  for 
in  1876  I  was  a  student  at  Kew  when  Mr.  Wickham 
brought  the  seeds  from  the  Amazon.  I  saw  them  sown 
at  Kew,  and  despatched  in  Wardian  cases  to  the  Far 
East,  following  them  in  1879,  when  on  my  arrival  I 
found,  I  think  it  was,  nine  trees  only,  growing  in  that  part 
of  the  Gardens  where  the  Palmetum  is  now.  These  nine 
trees  I  later  planted  in  the  Economic  Garden.  Mainly 
from  the  descendants  of  these  trees  has  grown  up  that 
marvellous  industry,  without  parallel  in  the  history  of 
tropical  agriculture. 



The  history  of  the  trade  in  mineral  oil  and  its  products 
in  bulk  as  concerns  Singapore  began  in  July  1891,  when 
Syme  and  Co.,  acting  in  connection  with  the  London  firm 
M.Samuel  andCo.,  pioneers  of  the  bulk  oil  trade  in  theEast 
and  founders  later  on  of  the  Shell  Transport  and  Trading 
Co.,  Ltd.,  wanted  to  erect  a  tank  for  the  storage  of  petro- 
leum in  bulk  at  Bukit  Chermin.  The  Municipality  then 
discovered  that  they  had  no  power  to  give  authority 
to  store  bulk  petroleum  within  their  limits.  An  applica- 
tion to  the  Government  that  then  followed  for  a  site  at 
Pasir  Panjang  was  also  refused.  This  led  to  the  estab- 
lishment, by  Syme  and  Co.,  of  the  petroleum  tank  depot 
on  the  neighbouring  island  of  Pulo  Bukom,  which  was  the 
first  of  its  kind  in  the  East,  and  was  begun  with  a  tank 
capacity  of  4,500  tons,  and  a  hand  tin-making  plant. 
At  great  expense,  and  in  face  of  many  difficulties,  Pulo 
Bukom  or,  as  it  was  often  then  called,  "  Fresh- Water 
Island,"  was  made  a  safe  anchorage,  and  facilities  for 
discharge  of  steamers  were  arranged.  In  1 892  the  depot 
was  opened  by  the  arrival  of  a  cargo  of  Russian  kerosene 
by  the  s.s.  Murex.  Later  on  the  installation  was  taken 
over  by  the  newly  formed  Shell  Transport  and  Nether- 
landsche  Indische  Industrie  en  Handel  Maatschappij  ; 
the  oil  territory  in  Dutch  East  Borneo  which  has  Balik 
Papan  as  its  centre  was  acquired  and  opened  up.  Oil 
products  were  brought  thence  to  Pulo  Bukom,  and  also 
from  the  oil-fields  of  the  Moeara  Enim  Co.,  Palembang, 
imports  of  Russian  kerosene  being  gradually  displaced 
thereby.  From  Singapore,  the  central  depot  for  the  East, 
were  suppHed  many  of  the  tank  depots  of  the  Company  at 
other  ports,  while  other  markets  were  supplied  with 
kerosene  packed  in  tins  and  cases.  In  1 895  the  Govern- 
ment turned  down  a  scheme  for  storing  petroleum  in 
bulk  at  Tanjong  Pagar,  and  next  year  a  Petroleum  Depot 
Commission  sent  in  their  report.  The  first  trial  run  of 
a  ship  with  liquid  fuel  was  the  s.s.  Haliotis  in  1 898. 


The  year  1902  saw  an  important  amalgamation.  A 
new  formation,  The  Asiatic  Petroleum  Co.,  Ltd., 
with  head  office  in  London,  took  over  the  storage  and 
marketing  interests  of  the  Shell  Transport  and  Trading 
Co.,  Ltd.,  and  of  their  competitors,  the  Royal  Dutch  Oil 
Co.,  owners  of  the  petroleum  tank  installation  on  the 
neighbouring  Dutch  island  of  Puloe  Samboe,  whose 
agents  in  Singapore  were  Hooglandt  and  Co.,  while  the  sea 
transport  interests  of  these  companies  were  taken  over 
by  a  new  and  allied  concern,  the  Anglo-Saxon  Petroleum 
Co.,  Ltd.  The  business,  which  continued  to  be  represented 
by  the  respective  agents,  Syme  and  Co.  and  Hooglandt 
and  Co . ,  now  acting  j  ointly ,  steadily  increased ,  embracing, 
in  addition  to  various  grades  of  kerosene,  liquid  fuel, 
benzene,  lubricating  oil,  etc.,  all  the  products  of  the 
Bataafsche  Petroleum  Maatschappij,  which  had  taken 
over  the  producing  interests  of  the  Shell  Transport  and 
Trading  Co.,  Ltd.,  in  Dutch  Borneo,  and  of  the  Royal 
Dutch  Oil  Co.,  in  Borneo  and  Sumatra.  Full  cargoes 
of  benzene  in  bulk  to  Europe  became  an  important 
feature.  Until  permission  was  got  for  the  benzene- 
carrying  ships  to  go  through  the  Suez  Canal,  the  trip 
home  had  to  be  made  by  the  Cape.  Burning  liquid  fuel, 
the  vessels  usually  made  non-stop  runs  to  the  United 
Kingdom,  which  served  to  demonstrate  the  value  of 
this  kind  of  fuel  and  stimulate  interest  therein.  To 
cope  with  developments,  the  tankage  and  other  facilities 
at  Pulo  Bukom  (and  Puloe  Samboe),  already  very 
considerable,  had  to  be  continually  added  to.  It  might 
be  mentioned  that  in  1906  Syme  and  Co.,  as  agents  of  the 
Asiatic  Petroleum  Co.,  Ltd.,  secured  a  decision  in  their 
favour  in  the  Court  of  Requests  that  oil-ships  not  going 
to  Penang  need  not  pay  Muka  Head  Light  dues. 

So  important  did  the  Singapore  business  become  as  a 
distributing  centre  that  the  Asiatic  Petroleum  Co.,  Ltd., 
took  the  step,  in  1908,  of  opening  their  own  office  in 
Singapore.  This  was  done  under  the  management  of  Mr. 
F.  E.  Jago,  at  one  time  in  Boustead  and  Co.  The  present 
Manager,  the  Honourable  Mr.  Andrew  Agnew,  C.B.E., 


formerly  of  Syme  and  Co.'s  staff,  was  his  chief  assistant. 
Enterprise  and  progress  have  continued  to  mark  the 
Company's  business  in  Singapore.  An  outward  testi- 
mony to  this  can  be  seen  in  the  handsome  offices,  St. 
Helen's  Court,  recently  erected  by  them  in  Collyer  Quay. 

Particular  mention  must  be  made  of  the  important 
local  trade  in  motor  spirit  (almost  exclusively  of  the 
popular  "  Shell  "  brand),  which  has  expanded  by  leaps 
and  bounds  concurrently  with  the  enormous  increase 
in  the  number  of  private  and  hired  motor  vehicles  of  all 
descriptions  employed  on  the  island,  a  result  also  of  the 
rapid  substitution  of  animal  traction  by  motor-power, 
which  is  one  of  the  most  remarkable  features  in  the 
recent  development  of  Singapore's  street  traffic.  Despite 
restrictions  imposed  by  the  authorities  on  the  importa- 
tion of  automobiles  into  the  Colony,  the  consumption 
of  motor  spirit  increased  during  the  War  by  no  less 
than  75  per  cent.  The  spirit  is  packed  at  the 
Asiatic  Petroleum  Company's  installations  at  Pulo 
Bukom  and  Puloe  Samboe,  and  imported  by  motor 
tongkang  to  their  wholesale  storage  depot  adjoining 
Kallang  Bridge,  whence  it  is  distributed  daily  by  motor- 
lorry  among  the  various  garages  and  dealers  in  town. 

The  kerosene  oil  trade  is  shared  with  the  Asiatic 
Petroleum  Company  by  the  Standard  Oil  Company  of 
New  York,  who  formerly  imported  their  whole  supplies 
of  packed  oil  direct  from  U.S.A.  Since  the  completion, 
however,  of  their  bulk-oil  installation  at  Bagan  Luar 
(on  the  coast  of  Province  Wellesley  opposite  Penang) 
iii  19 1 6,  the  latter  Company  have  drawn  the  major  part 
of  their  Singapore  requirements  from  the  Northern 

The  consumption  of  lubricating  oil  has  increased 
consistently  with  the  growth  of  the  shipping  business 
of  the  port,  and  the  development  of  local  rubber  fac- 
tories and  motor  traffic,  calling  for  important  supplies 
of  marine  engine  and  cylinder  oils,  engine  and  gear  oil, 
and  motor  cylinder  oils  respectively.  Before  the  War 
the  major  part  of  this  business  was  in  the  hands  of  the 


two  well-known  American  companies,  the  Standard 
Oil  Co.  of  New  York  and  the  Vacuum  Oil  Co.  During 
the  War,  however,  the  shortage  of  American  supplies 
was  made  good  by  the  Asiatic  Petroleum  Company,  who 
were  able  to  import  large  supplies  from  their  Nether- 
lands-Indian refineries,  and  who  now  hold  a  good  share 
of  the  local  trade  in  this  line. 

The  history  of  Singapore  as  an  oil-distributing  centre 
would  be  incomplete  without  reference  to  the  large  oil- 
bunkering  business,  which  has  grown  to  considerable 
dimensions  in  recent  years,  and  the  rapid  development 
of  which  is  chiefly  due  to  the  far-seeing  enterprise  of  the 
**  Shell  "  Company's  directors  in  providing  facihties  for 
the  berthage  of  large  ocean-going  vessels  at  Pulo  Bukom 
and  Puloe  Samboe,  and  for  the  supply  of  fuel-oil  in 
bulk  from  tank  lighter  to  steamers  discharging  cargo  in 
the  roads.  There  is  no  doubt  that  the  existence  of  these 
facilities  has  given  an  important  stimulus  to  the  use  of 
liquid  fuel  in  place  of  coal  on  steamships,  and  to  the 
building  of  motor-engined  vessels  for  service  on  the 
Far  Eastern  run.  In  this  respect,  indeed,  Singapore 
has  been  an  object-lesson  by  which  the  principal  steam- 
ship owners  all  over  the  world  have  not  been  slow  to 
profit,  as  is  shown  by  the  steadily  increasing  numbers  of 
oil-fired  vessels  now  to  be  seen  on  all  main  trade  routes  ; 
while  in  addition  to  the  virtues  associated  with  the 
pioneer,  the  port  can  justly  claim  to  have  maintained 
the  distinction  of  possessing  the  largest  oil-bunkering 
depot  and  of  supplying  bigger  quantities  than  any  other 
British  bunkering  station  in  the  East. 

Important  quantities  of  fuel-oil  were  supplied  from 
time  to  time  during  the  War  to  British  and  allied  war 
vessels  from  the  Asiatic  Petroleum  Company's  Singapore 
depots,  where  also  big  cargoes  of  motor-spirit  for  the 
Army  Service  Corps  and  Royal  Air  Force  were  packed 
for  export  to  various  war  areas  such  as  Mesopotamia, 
Egypt,  East  Africa,  Salonica,  etc.  An  interesting  new 
departure  in  the  transport  of  fuel-oil  in  bulk,  supplies 
of  which  were  urgently  needed  at  home  for  the  service 


of  the  Fleet  in  European  waters,  was  the  use  of  the  double 
bottoms,  or  ballast  tanks,  of  big  cargo  vessels  for  this 
purpose.  Large  quantities  of  oil  were  transported  in 
this  way  from  Singapore  to  the  United  Kingdom  in  the 
double  bottoms  of  vessels  belonging  to  the  "  Blue 
Funnel "  Line  (Messrs.  A.  Holt  and  Co.),  the  P.  and  O. 
Company,  and  the  Shire  Line.  The  first  cargo  so  loaded 
at  Pulo  Bukom  was  that  shipped  per  the  Blue  Funnel 
boat  Keemun  in  October  191 5,  when  the  quantity  of 
1,089  tons  was  pumped  into  the  ballast  tanks  in  less  than 
seven  hours.  Full  use  also  was  made  of  Singapore  as 
an  "  entrepot  "  for  the  conveyance  to  the  main  war 
theatres  of  thousands  of  tons  of  the  precious  Sumatra 
and  Borneo  petrols,  and  the  no  less  valuable  paraffin 
waxes  from  Borneo  and  Java,  which  proved  to  be  such 
a  vital  munition  of  war  that  in  a  speech  delivered  shortly 
after  the  conclusion  of  the  Armistice  by  M.  Berenger, 
the  Commissioner-General  of  Petroleum  in  France,  he 
was  induced  to  describe  them  as  being  '*  the  very  life- 
blood  of  victory."  Singapore  may  well  be  proud  of  the 
part  it  played  in  the  continuous  flow  of  this  "  life-blood  " 
to  the  heart  of  the  Empire  at  the  time  of  its  greatest 



By  T.  A.  Melville f  of  the  Straits  Settlements  Post 

The  Post  Office   under  the  East  India  Company 

The  postal  regulations  in  force  in  Prince  of  Wales's 
Island  at,  and  for  some  years  after,  the  foundation  of 
Singapore  doubtless  applied  to  the  younger  Settlement , 
and  are  given  in  extenso  : 

POST    OFFICE    department 


The  Post  Office  will  be  opened  at  9  in  the  morning 
and  continue  open  for  the  receipt  and  delivery  of  letters 
till  5  in  the  afternoon. 

Letters  for  England,  for  any  of  the  Indian  Settle- 
ments, and  for  all  known  stations  within  the  several 
Presidencies  will  be  at  all  times  received  at  the  Post 
Office  (during  office  hours)  for  despatch,  and  packets  will 
be  regularly  made  up  for  the  transmission  of  such 
letters  by  the  first  safe  conveyance  that  offers. 

Regular  registers  will  be  kept  of  all  letters  received  at 
the  Post  Office  and  of  the  vessels  on  which  they  are 
conveyed,  and  stamped  receipts  will  be  granted  for  all 
letters  sent  to  the  office  for  despatch. 

On  the  receipt  of  packets  from  vessels,  the  Post 
Office  Superintendent  will  proceed  to  despatch 
immediately  the  letters  for  the  Governor,  Members  of 
Council,  and  Secretary  of  Government,  and  will  then 



register  alphabetically  all  other  letters  and  without 
delay  send  the  peons  to  distribute  them. 

No  letters  will  be  received  at  the  Post  Office  without 
the  postage  being  sent  with  it,  nor  will  any  letter  be 
delivered  unless  the  postage  is  paid  to  the  peon,  or  the 
peon  signs  a  receipt  for  it. 

For  the  accommodation  of  the  residents  on  the  Island, 
however,  a  register  will  be  permitted  to  be  kept  for  their 
postage  account  on  the  understood  condition  that  all 
postage  claims  are  regularly  settled  every  month. 

No  person  will  be  admitted  into  the  interior  of  the 
Post   Office  on  any  account. 

The  following  rates  of  postage  continue  in  force,  to  be 
levied  upon  all  letters  with  the  exception  of  those  on  the 
public  service  superscribed  as  such,  and  letters  to  or  from 
the  Governor,  Members  of  Council,  Recorder,  and 
Commanding  Officer  of  the  Troops,  which  are  exempted 
from  postage. 

Postage  to  be  levied  on  the  receipt  of  all  letters  at 
Fort  Cornwallis. 

On  letters  weighing  less  than 



I  Sicca  rupee    . 

,      0 


2  Sicca  rupees  . 

.      0 



.      0 


8           „             .          . 

.      0 



.      I 



.      I 


On  all  above 

As  an  encouragement  to  Commanders  of  vessels  having 
private  letters  to  send  them  to  the  Post  Office,  they  shall 
be  entitled  to  receive  three  pice  upon  every  letter  de- 
livered at  the  Post  Office. 

Prince  of  Wales's  Island,  1st  January  181 8. 

Referring  to  the  year  1820,  Buckley  remarks  that 
an  alphabetical  register  was  kept  of  all  letters  that 
passed  through  the  office,  and  a  stamped  receipt  was 
given  for  each  letter  posted,  and  that  this  practice  was 
carried  on  for  many  years.  The  Post  Office  revenue 
before  the  Transfer  was  received  on  account  of  the 
General  Government  of  India,  which  also  bore  the 
II— 8 


disbursements.  Buckley  also  gives  us  what  is  doubtless 
the  origin  of  the  "  Postal  Express,"  or  "  Mail  Notice,'* 
as  it  is  so  frequently  called  (referring  to  the  year  1838)  : 

"  The  s.s.  Diana  left  for  Malacca  and  Penang,  and  it 
was  a  curious  sign  of  the  times  that  complaints  were 
made  by  some  merchants  that  they  had  not  heard  of  her 
departure,  and  had  missed  the  opportunity  to  write. 
So  it  was  suggested  that  it  would  be  a  good  plan  to 
circulate  a  notice  among  the  merchants  when  a  steamer 
was  intended  to  leave." 

It  was  not  until  November  1879,  however,  that  the 
printed  Postal  Express  was  published. 

In  September  of  the  same  year  (1838)  the  Chamber  of 
Commerce  succeeded,  after  some  delay,  in  getting  Govern- 
ment to  allow  letters  for  England  to  be  received  at  the 
Post  Office  for  transmission  by  the  overland  mails  via 
India.  The  postage  through  India  was  paid  here  and 
the  steam  postage  was  collected  in  England.  In  1854 
the  Singapore  Post  Office  was  near  the  Town  Hall,  on 
the  river-side.  It  was  said  that  it  ought  to  be  put  on  the 
Commercial  Square  side  of  the  river.  The  Grand  Jury 
alluded  to  a  number  of  grievances,  one  of  which  was  the 
inconvenient  position  of  the  Post  Office.  Communi- 
cation between  the  business  quarter  and  the  Post  Office 
necessitated  crossing  the  river  in  boats  until  some  time 
after  1856,  when  a  footbridge  was  erected,  toll  J  cent. 
In  1856  the  Grand  Jury  suggested  that  the  Post  Office 
should  be  moved  across  the  river  to  Fort  Fullerton, 
which  was  done  many  years  afterwards,  to  its  present 
(191 9)  site,  and  that  a  Court  House  should  be  built  where 
the  Post  Office  then  was.  The  1859-60  Administration 
Report  stated  that  in  order  to  remedy  the  public 
inconvenience  of  having  to  employ  special  messengers 
for  the  transmission  of  their  letters  to  and  from  the 
Post  Office,  "  a  receiving  station  is  in  course  of  erection 
in  Commercial  Square,  from  which,  on  mail  days,  the  box 
will  be  removed  to  the  Post  Office  every  two  or  three 
hours."    The  Annual  Government  Report  for  1864  said 


that  the  old  Court  House  (in  1902  a  store-room  behind 
the  Printing  Office)  had  been  fitted  up  and  converted 
into  the  Post  Office.  The  Post  Office  was  still  in  that 
position  in  1866. 

In  1855  a  separate  Postmaster  was  appointed  at 
Singapore  ;  the  Postmaster's  salary  was  £396,  and  was 
compared  with  the  Hongkong  Postmaster-General's 
;^8oo.  In  the  financial  year  1859-60  the  sale  of  postage 
stamps  brought  in  £4,SSS,  and  the  amount  of  postage 
received  from  other  countries  was  ;^  1,656.  In  1861  the 
Postmaster's  salary  was  still  £396,  but  he  was  recom- 
mended for  ;^594  per  annum,  with  the  greater  title  of 
"Postmaster  and  Vendor  of  Stamps."  The  Singapore 
Review  and  Monthly  Magazine,  conducted  by  E.  A. 
Edgerton,  contained  the  following  remarks  in  1861  : 
"  The  present  Postmaster  has  had  the  management  of 
this  department  and  faithfully  discharged  the  duties  of 
it  for  over  thirty  years,  though  till  within  the  last  year  or 
two  the  Harbour  Master  has  been  its  nominal  head. 
The  duties  have  very  much  increased,  as  also  the  revenue  ; 
it  is  therefore  recommended  that  his  salary  be  raised 
to  £S9A,  as  in  the  proposed  scale,  and  a  more  efficient 
staff  provided.  He  should  also  be  Vendor  of  Stamps, 
hitherto  part  of  the  duty  of  the  Resident  Councillor, 
to  the  great  inconvenience  of  the  public." 

The  Post  Office  was  under  the  Director-General  of  the 
Post  Office  of  India,  and  some,  at  least,  of  the  regula- 
tions published  in  the  Straits  bore  his  name. 

At  the  time  of  the  Transfer,  1867 
The  position  cannot  be  better  expressed  than  in  the 
following   portion    of   a    report    dated    Singapore,    the 
25th  January  1864,  from  Sir  Hercules  Robinson,  pre- 
sented to  Parhament  on  the  4th  June  1866 : 

"  The  Post  Office  Department  in  the  Straits  Settle- 
ments is  one  with  reference  to  which  some  new  arrange- 
ments will  have  to  be  entered  into  before  the  date  of 
the  transfer.  The  present  post  offices  in  Singapore  and 
Penang  are  mere  branches  of  the  Indian  Post  Office, 


the  Postmasters  of  both  Settlements  communicating 
with,  and  accounting  to,  and  receiving  all  their  instruc- 
tions from  the  Director-General  at  Calcutta.  The  regu- 
lations in  force  are  established  under  the  authority  of 
the  Indian  Post  Office  Act,  No.  17  of  1854,  and  all 
postal  rates  charged  are  levied  under  the  Act,  with  the 
exception  of  the  rates  for  correspondence  by  subsidised 
steamers,  which  are  fixed  by  warrants  of  the  Lords 
Commissioners  of  the  Treasury.  The  Indian  postage 
rates  are  specified  in  annas  and  pie,  and  the  British  in 
sterling  money  ;  but  only  Indian  postage  labels  are  in 
use,  upon  which  the  rates  are  inscribed  in  the  denomina- 
tion of  Indian  currency  ;  and  these  are  sold  to  the 
public  in  exchange  for  dollars — the  real  currency  of  the 
Straits  Settlements — at  a  par  of  rupees  224.8  annas 
6t(J*^  pie,  equivalent  to  $100,  and  are  taken  in  payment 
of  British  postages  at  the  rate  of  one  anna  for  three- 
halfpence.  I  presume  that,  if  the  transfer  takes  place, 
the  post  offices  of  the  Straits  will  become  subordinate 
to  the  General  Post  Office  in  London,  subject,  however, 
as  in  Hongkong,  to  the  immediate  control  of  the  local 
Government,  and,  if  so,  instructions  for  the  guidance 
of  the  Postmasters  will  have  to  be  furnished  by  Her 
Majesty's  Postmaster-General  ;  and  steps  should  be 
taken  at  once  to  obtain  a  supply  of  local  postage  labels, 
upon  which  the  rates  should  be  inscribed  in  dollars  and 

"  As  soon  as  possible,  also,  after  the  transfer,  a  local 
Ordinance  should  be  passed  for  the  management  of  the 
local  post  offices,  and  for  the  purpose  of  accommodating 
the  British  and  Indian  postage  rates  at"  present  in  force 
to  the  currency  of  the  Colony.  Pending  the  enact- 
ment of  such  an  Ordinance,  the  existing  arrangements 
would  be  continued  by  the  clause  which  has  been  sug- 
gested in  the  Act  of  Parliament  for  separating  the 
Settlements  from  India  ;  and  the  local  Government  can 
fix  by  regulations  the  rate  at  which  the  new  stamps 
shall  be  accepted  in  payment  of  British  and  Indian 
postages.  But  until  the  Ordinance  is  passed,  rupees  and 
sterling  money  cannot  be  refused  at  the  Post  Office  if 
tendered  in  payment  of  such  postages." 

An  abstract  of  the  probable  annual  revenue  and  ex- 


penditure  of  the  Department,  if  transferred  to  the  Colonial 
Office,  estimated  the  Singapore  revenue  as  Rs.  32,000, 
as  against  an  expenditure  of  Rs.  23,700.  It  was  ex- 
plained that  the  gross  postal  revenue  had  hitherto  been 
brought  to  account,  but  that  in  this  estimate  only  the 
Colonial  share  of  the  postages  had  been  included,  at 
the  same  rates  as  those  allowed  by  the  Imperial  Govern- 
ment to  Hongkong  towards  the  expense  of  local  manage- 

The  Post  Office  was  situated  in  Court  Buildings,  High 
Street,  and  the  Postmaster  was  William  Cuppage,  who 
became  Acting  Postmaster-General  in  1869,  and  had 
carried  on  the  work  of  the  Post  Office  for  very  many 
years,  although,  it  appears,  under  the  control  of  the 
Harbour  Master. 

Under  the  Imperial  Act,  "  to  provide  for  the  Govern- 
ment of  the  Straits  Settlements,"  dated  1866  the  Straits 
Settlements  ceased  to  be  a  part  of  India,  but  the  existing 
laws  and  officers  were  preserved,  and  the  laws  governing 
the  Post  Office  remained  the  Post  Office  Acts  of  India. 

Maritime  Mails 

One  of  Raffles 's  regulations  (1823)  for  the  Port  of 
Singapore  read  :  "  Commanders  of  all  vessels  are  re- 
quested to  deliver,  when  boarded  by  the  Master  Atten- 
dant's boat,  all  letters,  packets,  and  despatches  for  the 
Settlement,  and  to  receive  and  furnish  a  receipt  for  Post 
Office  packets  which  may  be  sent  on  board  on  their 

In  the  early  days  the  flagstaff  was  eagerly  watched, 
and  the  signal  for  a  ship  to  the  eastward  infused  new 
life  into  all,  as  letters  from  Europe  usually  arrived  via 
Batavia.  A  voyage  from  England  took  four  or  five 
months,  and  an  answer  within  ten  months  was  con- 
sidered very  punctual. 

The  Singapore  Chronicle  of  1825  contained  an  article 
on  the  proposal  to  establish  steam  navigation  in  the 
Straits  of  Malacca,  and  in  1826  announced  the  arrival 


in  India  of  the  first  steam  vessel  from  Europe,  the 
s.s.  Enterprizey  which  left  England  on  the  19th  August 
1825  and  arrived  in  Calcutta  on  the  9th  December. 
The  Malacca  Observer  of  1828-9  had  the  following  inter- 
esting items  : 

"  Steam  Navigation. — ^Another  advantage  may  be 
gained  if  Mr.  Waghorn  succeeds  in  his  attempt  to 
bring  out  letters  and  parcels  from  England  to  Calcutta 
in  seventy-five  days,  previously  touching  at  Madras, 
etc.  .  .  .  thus  we  should  have  a  communication  from 
England  in  about  eighty  days.  This,  it  must  be  acknow- 
ledged, is  a  desideratum,  although  the  expense  attending 
the  accommodation  would  be  necessarily  high." 


''  To  the  subscribers  to  the  Stearn  Navigation  Fund  and 
the  public  in  general. 

"  I  feel  it  my  duty  to  express  my  thanks  for  the 
degree  of  interest  that  you  have  already  conferred  by 
assisting  my  plan  of  Steam  Communication  between 
England  and  India. 

"  The  resolution  passed   at  the  Town   Hall  on  the 
30th  July  last,  and  the  undermentioned  rates  of  postage 
sanctioned   by   the  Governor-General  in   Council  in   a 
letter  to  me  dated  the  7th  August  1828,  are  sufficient 
to  point  out  the  degree  of  encouragement  I  have  received 
in  Calcutta,  and   I   feel  sanguine  of  success.     On  my 
arrival  in  England  I  proceeded  to  build  and  fit  a  vessel 
for  this  important  undertaking.     I  therefore  still  solicit 
that  as  I  am  labouring  to  perform  a  public  benefit,  I  may 
not  be  forgotten — and  I  can  only  say  that  to  be  the 
first  individual  that  shall  make  a  voyage  to  India  and 
back  to  England  in  six  months  will  to  me  be  a  sufficient 
reward,  and   I   will  devote  my  utmost  endeavours  to 
effect   it.     Wishing   the   Steam    Committee   and   Sub- 
scribers who  have  given  their  aid  to  my  views  every 
happiness  and  my  humble  thanks,  I  hope  yet  to  requite 
the  obligation  I  lay  under  to  them  by  opening  com- 
munication with  their  relatives  in  a  third  less  time, 
and  thereby  save  them  many  painful  hours  of  anxiety." 



If  less 

If  less 

If  less 

than  75 

than  85 

than  100 







For  each  single  letter  not  exceeding  one  Sicca 

weight,   if  exceeding  one   Sicca  weight 

double,  H  exceeding  two  Sicca  weight 

treble,  and  so  on 


2  Rs. 

I  R. 

Newspapers  each       ..... 




Accounts,  Law  Papers,  etc.,  certified  as  such 

outside  and  not  containing  letters,  per 

ounce         ...... 



I  R. 

And  if  more  than  100  days  the  common  ship 


In  its  issue  of  the  14th  July  1829  the  same  pubHca- 
tion  states  :  "  We  have  this  day  been  favoured 
with  the  sight  of  a  few  Enghsh  papers  and  periodicals 
dated  the  ist  February."  In  1826  the  East  India 
Company's  ship  Thomas  Coutts  did  the  round  trip, 
England,  Bombay,  Singapore,  Macao,  the  Downs,  ten 
days  within  the  year,  the  quickest  return  trip  known. 
The  first  steamship  to  arrive  in  Singapore  was  the 
s.s.  Jardine,  a  paddle-steamer.  This  was  in  1836,  and 
was  made  the  occasion  for  an  amusing  picnic. 

1844. — ''  The  time  of  the  receipt  of  letters  by  the 
overland  route  at  this  period  was  still  very  uncertain. 
In  one  week  in  February,  for  example,  instalments  of 
three  mails  came  in,  and  in  the  very  reverse  order  to 
that  which  they  ought  to  have  been  received.  On  a 
Tuesday  a  portion  of  a  mail  posted  in  England  in 
December  arrived  by  way  of  Calcutta  ;  on  the  next 
day  a  part  of  the  November  mail  arrived  by  way  of 
China  ;  and  four  days  later  the  brig  Sea  Horsey  from 
Bombay,  brought  the  October  mail,  so  that  the  mail, 
not  usually,  took  over  four  months  to  reach  here, 
which  was  longer  than  an  average  passage  by  a  sailing 
vessel  round  the  Cape.  It  was  proposed  to  get  the 
P.  and  O.  service  established  to  Singapore,  and  that 
'  Pulo  Labuan,  near  Borneo,'  should  be  made  a  point 
of  call  for  British  men-of-war  to  coal  on  the  voyage 
between  Singapore  and  Hongkong  when  conveying  the 
mails  from  here.     The  Sea  Horse  brought  forty  convicts 


from  Bombay  under  an  armed  guard,  being  part  of  a 
famous  robber  gang  known  as  the  Bunder  Gang." 

One  firm  in  Java,  Messrs.  Maclaine,  Watson  and  Co., 
in  1848  used  to  have  a  special  vessel  waiting  at  Singa- 
pore to  convey  its  European  mail  to  Java.  In  1853 
different  flags  were  first  used  to  distinguish  the  closing 
of  the  different  mails  :  Calcutta  by  a  blue  ensign, 
Australia  a  white  flag,  Europe  a  red,  China  a  yellow 
flag.  Jardine,  Matheson  and  Co.  and  the  Apcar  steamers 
commenced  running  between  China  and  Calcutta  in 
1856,  and  were  the  first  regular  vessels  to  trade  with 
Singapore  in  addition  to  the  P.  and  O.  In  1862  the 
Messageries  Imperiales  began  to  run,  and  the  first  of 
their  steamers  to  arrive  from  Suez  bringing  the  mails 
from  London  of  the  i8th  October  was  the  Imperatricey 
which  arrived  at  Singapore  on  the  21st  November.  It 
was  then  and  for  some  years  after  a  monthly  service, 
and  was  due  to  the  opening  of  Cochin-China  by  the 
French.  In  1864,  on  the  24th  November,  the  French 
mail  steamer  Hydaspe  left  Singapore  for  Batavia.  This 
was  the  commencement  of  the  Messageries  Imperiales 
regular  service  between  the  two  ports  in  connection  with 
the  mail  steamer  from  Europe.  News  arrived  next 
morning  that  she  was  wrecked  in  the  Straits  of  Rhio. 
The  first  German  mail  arrived  in  Singapore  in  August 
1886,  after  which  they  called  at  Singapore  monthly, 
both  directions,  and  the  last  in  19 14  I  She  had  a  post 
office  on  board,  and  the  mail  gun  was  fired  on  her 
arrival.  It  became  a  fortnightly  service  in  1899. 
Regular  branch  lines  ran  from  Singapore  to  Siam,  Java, 
PhiUppines,  New  Guinea,  the  Caroline,  Marian,  Marshall, 
and  Palaos  Islands. 

In  October  1891  the  Post  Office  first  issued  its  "  Pro 
Forma  Time  Table,"  giving  the  approximate  dates  of 
arrival  of  mail  steamers  at  and  departure  from  Singa- 
pore, and  of  the  movements  of  connecting  packets  at 
other  ports.  The  publication  was  continued  quarterly 
until  the  War. 

THE  P.   AND   O.   MAIL  iii 

In  1896  all  the  steamers  plying  between  the  Colony 
and  surrounding  countries  were  supplied  with  letter- 
boxes, and  the  number  of  letters  posted  in  them  on 
board  the  steamers  was  far  in  excess  of  the  number 
which  used  to  be  handed  over  to  the  Boarding  Officers. 
Many  Chinchews  took  to  carrying  stamps  for  sale  to 
passengers  and  people  posting  late  letters.  The  system 
had  a  satisfactory  effect  in  inducing  the  Chinchews  to 
work  with  the  Post  Office  instead  of  evading  the  law  as 
to  the  illicit  conveyance  of  letters  on  all  possible 

In  1905  the  Post  Office  was  provided  with  a  steam 
launch  for  the  purpose  of  shipping  mails  on  board 
steamers  lying  in  the  roads. 

In  1906  direct  mails  for  Canada  were  sent  via  Hong- 
kong and  the  East  Empress  Line  monthly. 

In  1907,  consequent  on  the  lower  sea  transport  rates 
payable  to  the  Colony  under  the  Rome  Postal  Conven- 
tion for  carrying  foreign  mails,  the  gratuities  payable 
to  masters  of  non-contract  vessels  were  reduced. 

The  War  was  responsible  for  many  changes  in  mail 
routes :  mails  for  Australia  were  no  longer  despatched 
via  Colombo  ;  all  mails  for  North  America  were  des- 
patched via  the  Pacific  after  August  191 7.  The  Blue 
Funnel  Line  was  used  for  the  conveyance  of  parcels 
between  the  Straits  and  the  United  Kingdom,  and  vice 

The  p.  and  O.  Mail 

The  overland  mail  (across  Egypt)  was  established 
in  1837,  and  across  France  to  Marseilles  in  1839,  and 
through  Italy  to  Brindisi  in  1870.  Camel  transport 
was  used  for  the  mails  up  to  1858,  when  the  railway 
planned  by  Mr.  Robert  Stephenson  was  opened  for 
traffic  between  Cairo  and  Suez.  The  Canal  was  opened 
in  1 869,  but  the  mails  continued  to  be  carried  by  rail 
until  1873,  when  only  specially  prepaid  correspondence 
was  conveyed  through  the  Canal.  It  was  not  until 
1888  that  the  railway  was  given  up  and  the  Canal  route 


adopted  for  mails.  The  Peninsular  Company  was 
formed  in  1837,  ^^^  extended  its  services  to  the  East  in 
1840,  when  it  became  by  Royal  Charter  the  Peninsular 
and  Oriental  Company.  Their  first  ship  carrying  mails  to 
India  left  England  in  September  1842,  via  the  Cape. 
Their  regular  mail  service  to  Alexandria  with  the  mails 
for  the  East  India  Company's  ships  carried  the  mails 
from  Suez  eastward  until  1854,  when  the  P.  and  O.  took 
over  the  through  service  to  Bombay. 

In  1 844  the  Peninsular  and  Oriental  Company  made  the 
first  contract  for  the  conveyance  of  the  mails  to  China 
via  Ceylon.  The  contract  was  for  140  hours  from  Ceylon 
to  Penang,  forty-five  hours  from  there  to  Singapore, 
and  170  hours  from  there  to  Hongkong.  The  steamers 
were  to  remain  forty-eight  hours  here.  The  service  was 
once  a  month.  The  first  mail  steamer,  the  Lady  Mary 
Wood,  arrived  on  the  4th  August  1845,  having  been 
eight  days  from  Galle.  She  brought  the  mails  from 
London  of  the  24th  June,  having  taken  forty-one  days. 
The  paper  spoke  of  this  matter  as  follows  : 

'*  The  arrival  of  the  first  overland  mail  for  the  Straits 
and  China  is  an  event  of  some  importance,  and  deserving 
of  special  notice  at  our  hands.  It  is  a  further  addition 
to  the  great  lines  of  steam-packets  by  which  Great 
Britain  is  brought  into  such  close  contact  with  her  more 
distant  Colonial  possessions.  The  American  and  West 
Indian  Colonies  have  long  had  regular  lines  of  steamers 
between  them  and  the  Mother  Country,  and  now  in  the 
East  it  only  wants  an  extension  of  the  chain  to  Australia 
to  render  it  complete.  This,  we  believe,  will  not  be  long 
withheld,  the  growing  importance  of  the  Australian 
Colonies,  and  the  advantages  resulting  to  Government 
itself  from  quick  and  regular  communications  with 
distant  possessions,  will  speedily  bring  about  the  accom- 
plishment of  this  line.  It  seems  almost  certain  that 
Singapore  will  be  the  station  where  the  junction  of  the 
Australian  line  with  the  Indian  one  will  take  place,  so 
that  with  the  Dutch  monthly  steamer  and  perhaps  the 
Manila  one  in  addition,  Singapore  bids  fair  to  become  a 
steam-packet  station  of  considerable  importance." 


The  number  of  letters  carried  by  the  succeeding 
steamer,  the  Braganza,  from  Europe  was  652,  and  news- 
papers 673  ;  total  number  of  covers,  1,325,  Thenumber 
taken  by  the  Lady  Mary  Wood  on  her  return  voyage 
homewards  on  the  ist  September  was  :  Europe,  3,989  '> 
Penang,  165  ;  Ceylon,  74;  Bombay,  242  ;  Madras,  281  ; 
Aden,  6  ;   total  amount  of  covers,  4,757. 

There  was  a  good  deal  of  excitement  in  the  Square 
because  some  of  the  prepaid  letters  by  the  first  homeward 
mail  were  left  behind,  and  the  following  appeared  in 
the  paper  : 

''  We  regret  to  notice  that  a  great  number  of  letters 
sent  to  the  Post  Office   and   intended   for  despatch   to 
Europe  by  the  steamer  Lady  Mary  Wood,  although  sent 
to  the  Post  Office   a   few   minutes   before   two   o'clock 
(the   advertised   latest   hour),   were   not   forwarded    to 
destination,   but  returned   to  the  senders.    The  letters 
in  question  were  sent  by  two  commercial  houses,  whose 
communications  and  correspondence  were  extensive,  and 
throughout  the  day  were  despatching  letters  to  the  Post 
Office  so  soon  as  they  were  sealed,  in  order  that  the  Post 
Office  servants  might  experience  as  little  inconvenience 
as  possible.     In  the  instance  of  these  letters  some  excuse 
is   raised,   which  is   not   withal  very  reasonable.     The 
whole  of  the  '  rejected  addresses  '  were  epistles  to  foreign 
countries,  and  as  such  had  to  undergo   various   entries 
in  sundry  books  of  the  Singapore  Post  Office  to  ensure 
the  certainty  of  reaching  their  destination.     Although  in 
time,  that  is  several  minutes  before  the  advertised  hour 
of  closing  the  mails,  the  letters  were  returned  ;   because, 
as  alleged,  there  was  no  time  to  perform  all  the  manipula- 
tions necessary  in  the  instance  of  foreign  letters.     But 
a  still  worse  casualty  occurred,  the  whole  of  the  unpaid 
letters  were  forgotten  !    They  had  been  placed  in  a  very 
snug  corner,  but  were  overlooked." 

The  Chamber  of  Commerce  addressed  the  Governor 
very  warmly  upon  the  subject,  and  Mr.  William  Scott 
and  Mr.  Cuppage,  who  were  in  charge  of  the  Post  Office, 
got  a  good  deal  of  warm  language.  The  merchants  made 
legal  protests  against  the  Post  Office  authorities,  holding 


them  liable  for  any  loss  that  might  ensue ;  but  they  were 
only  waste  paper,  as  the  India  Postal  Act  exempted 
them  from  responsibility.  The  paper  said  shortly 
afterwards  that  the  energy  of  the  Chamber  had  worked 
wonders.  The  forgotten  letters  were  sent  on  by  the 
steamer  Fire  Queen  to  Calcutta  some  days  after,  to  go 
from  there  by  any  opportunity. 

At  the  beginning  of  1848  the  closing  of  the  P.  and  O. 
mails  was  first  signalled  from  the  Government  Hill 
(now  Fort  Canning)  flagstaff,  the  red  ensign  being  used 
for  the  Europe  mail  and  the  yellow  flag  for  China,  and 
a  gun  was  fired  when  the  steamer  arrived  during  the 
night.  By  the  contract  the  mail  steamer  had  to  wait 
in  Singapore  forty-eight  hours.  The  first  time  the  yellow 
flag  was  used  a  report  got  about  that  plague  had  broken 
out  on  board  one  of  the  Arab  pilgrim  ships,  which  caused 
alarm  in  the  town  among  the  natives  for  a  few  hours, 
from  a  belief  that  that  signal  was  made  to  warn  people 
of  it. 

In  June  1850  the  Naval  Commander-in-Chief,  Admiral 
Austin,  stopped  the  P.  and  O.  mail,  as  is  related  in  the 
following  extract  from  the  Singapore  Free  Press  : 

"  The  inhabitants  of  Singapore  on  Monday  forenoon 
were  surprised  at  the  report  of  heavy  guns,  immediatel}^ 
after  the  departure  of  the  Pekin,  which  was  soon 
ascertained  from  those  cognisant  of  naval  forms  to  be  a 
'  recall,'  or  order  for  the  detention  of  the  Pekin y 
which  vessel  had  made  a  few  revolutions  when  the  signal 
was  made  from  the  steam-sloop  Fury,  on  board  which 
ship  the  Naval  Commander-in-Chief's  flag  is  at  present 
flying.  These  sounds,  however,  were  imagined  by  those 
on  board  the  Pekin  to  proceed  from  some  junks  saluting 
prior  to  their  departure,  and  she  held  on  her  way  without 
attending  to  them.  It  appears  that  important  public 
despatches  had  been  left  behind,  and  it  was  therefore 
necessary  that  they  should  be  sent  after  the  Pekin.  The 
Fury  was  at  this  time  undergoing  some  requisite  ad- 
justment of  her  ponderous  machinery,  and  one  boiler  was 
under  repair,  besides  other  causes  of  detention,  the 
details  of  which  we  are  not  cognisant  of ;  yet  at  noon  she 


was  ready  for  the  chase,  on  which  she  started  precisely 
three  hours  in  arrear  of  the  runawa}^  mail.  A  stern  chase 
is  generally  denominated  a  long  chase,  but  in  the  present 
instance  such  proved  not  to  be  the  fact.  The  Pekin 
was  sighted  shortly  after  2  o'clock,  and  the  distance 
between  each  rapidly  decreased.  When  the  Pekin  was 
some  five  miles  ahead  '  blank  cartridge  '  from  the  bow 
gun,  we  hear,  was  fired,  but  no  notice  being  taken,  it 
determined  to  send  a  shot  in  the  same  direction  so  as  to 
fall  on  the  starboard  quarter,  which  had  the  desired 
effect,  and  the  Pekin  at  last  pulled  up." 

Such  an  occurrence  was  not  unusual  in  former  days. 
One  Admiral,  about  1862,  we  think  it  was  Admiral  Kuper, 
shot  away  part  of  the  fore-rigging  of  a  P.  and  O.  steamer 
in  Japan  for  not  heaving  to  when  signalled  to  do  so.  The 
Master  of  the  P.  and  O.  steamer  in  Singapore  in  1867, 
having  made  some  demur  as  to  waiting  a  short  time  to 
take  Admiral  Keppel's  despatches  on  board,  was 
actually  prevented  from  going  to  sea,  if  he  had  intended 
to  do  so,  by  a  manned-and-armed  cutter  being  laid 
alongside  the  vessel  at  the  New  Harbour  Wharf  ;  the 
letters,  however,  were  on  board  before  the  advertised 
hour  for  saihng.  Another  steamer,  during  the  Abyssinian 
War  in  1 867,  neglecting  to  heave  to  when  passing  through 
the  old  harbour,  when  H.M.S.  Satellite  signalled  to  her 
to  do  so,  had  two  blank  guns  fired  at  her,  and  then  a 
shot  was  sent  across  her  bows.  The  shot  was  so  well 
in  front  of  her  that  it  nearly  hit  the  powder  magazine, 
anchored  outside  the  harbour. 

The  Straits  Times  of  1850  gave  the  average  number  of 
days  occupied  in  the  transit  of  mails  from  England  to 
Singapore  as  43  in  1845,  44  in  1846,  45 J  in  1847,  45i 
in  1848,  and  44!  in  1849. 

From  the  beginning  of  1853  the  monthly  P.  and  O.  mail 
was  changed  into  a  mail  twice  a  month.  The  first  left 
London  on  the  8th  of  each  month,  and  came  direct  from 
Galle  to  Penang,  Singapore,  and  China.  The  second 
left  London  on  the  24th,  and  went  from  Galle  to  Calcutta, 
and  then  to  Penang  and  onwards.     The  first  was  due 


in  Singapore  about  the  1 5th  of  each  month,  the  contract 
time  being  thirty-eight  days  ;  the  second  about  the  loth 
of  each  month,  the  contract  time  being  forty-seven  days. 
The  homeward  mails  left  Singapore  on  the  17th  and 
28th,  the  first  via  Bombay  and  the  second  via  Calcutta, 
the  contract  time  for  both  to  Marseilles  being  forty-four 
days.  The  steamers  went  on  to  Southampton.  The 
time  taken  by  the  steamer  going  round  via  Calcutta 
caused  so  much  delay  that  the  two  mails  arrived  very 
near  each  other,  and  this  was  avoided  in  1857  by  the 
mails  being  transhipped  at  Galle. 

In  the  month  of  September  1854  the  P.  and  O.  mail 
from  London  was  delivered  in  thirty-four  days,  which 
was  considered  very  remarkable  ;  and  the  paper  said  : 
"  When  the  lines  of  railway  through  France  and  Egypt 
are  completed,  we  may  expect  to  receive  our  mails  from 
England  in  thirty  or  thirty-one  days." 

In  1867  a  new  contract  with  the  P.  and  O.  Company 
provided  a  weekly  service  to  Bombay,  with  a  transit  of 
twenty-six  days  and  a  subsidy  of  ;^400,ooo.  Arrange- 
ments were  made  with  the  Company  for  a  "  Parcel  Post 
Service  "  between  the  Straits  and  the  United  Kingdom, 
with  effect  from  the  ist  April  1876.  There  was  no 
parcel  post  in  the  United  Kingdom  at  that  time,  and 
the  addressees  had  to  make  their  own  arrangements  for 
obtaining  the  parcels  from  the  Company.  In  May  1879 
a  "  Marine  Officer"  was  appointed  to  sort  the  outward 
mails  by  P.  and  O.  steamers  between  Penang  and 
Singapore.  There  were  ninety  private  bags,  which  were 
ready  for  delivery  within  a  few  minutes  of  the  mails 
reaching  the  General  Post  Office. 

Under  a  new  contract  in  1880  letters  were  delivered 
in  Singapore  in  about  twenty-eight  days  from  the  date 
of  their  leaving  England.  It  was  decided  that  the  Colony 
should  pay  a  share  of  the  subsidy,  which  it  did  as  from 
the  I  St  February  1880,  the  date  of  commencement  of  the 
contract.  The  ten-year  contract  from  the  ist  February 
1888  provided  for  the  mails  being  conveyed  through  the 
Suez  Canal  instead  of  via  Alexandria.     The  rate  of  speed 


between  Brindisi  and  Port  Said  was  to  be  12*5  knots  and 
between  Suez  and  Singapore  was  increased  from  10*5  to 
11*2  knots.  This  contract  was  on  a  reduced  subsidy. 
A  new  eight-year  contract  came  into  operation  on  the 
I  St  February  1890.  It  provided  for  the  conveyance  of 
mails  between  Brindisi  and  the  Straits  fortnightly,  at  an 
average  speed  of  over  13  knots.  In  his  report  for  1904 
Mr.  Noel  Trotter  wrote  : 

*'  The  question  of  the  apportionment  between  the 
United  Kingdom,  India,  Australia,  Ceylon,  the  Straits 
Settlements,  and  Hongkong  of  the  subsidy  of  ;£3 30,000 
a  year  paid  to  the  Peninsular  and  Oriental  Steam  Navi- 
gation Company  for  the  performance  of  part  of  the 
Eastern  and  Australian  Mail  Service  from  the  ist  Febru- 
ary 1898  has  been  under  consideration  for  some  time. 
On  the  basis  of  an  award  by  the  late  Lord  Morley,  in  an 
arbitration  case  between  the  United  Kingdom  and  India, 
the  British  Post  Office  claimed  £7,719  a  year  from  the 
Straits  Settlements.  The  Eastern  Colonies  all  objected 
to  the  method  of  assessment  proposed,  and  it  was  there- 
fore decided  to  refer  the  matter  of  what  these  Colonies 
should  pay  to  arbitration.  At  the  request  of  the  Colonial 
Office  I  prepared  the  draft  case  for  Ceylon,  the  Straits, 
and  Hongkong,  and,  according  to  the  case  submitted, 
this  Colony's  contribution  should  be  £5,345  only.  The 
Arbitrator  was  Lord  Balfour  of  Burleigh,  who,  after 
going  very  carefully  into  the  whole  question,  wrote : 
I  am  afraid  I  am  not  able  to  suggest  any  principle 
which  would  be  thoroughly  logical,  having  regard  to  all 
the  difficulties  of  the  case,  and  I  am,  therefore,  reduced  to 
suggesting  that  an  arbitrary  figure  should  be  taken  as  a 
basis  for  settlement.'  He  fixed  the  contribution  by 
this  Colony  at  £6,goo  per  annum,  which  is  i6'5  per 
cent,  more  than  the  round  sum  we  have  paid  since  the 
year  1880." 

In  1905  the  transit  between  London  and  Singapore 
averaged  21 J  days,  and  between  Singapore  and  London 
22  J  days.  Speed  was  not  a  strong  point  in  the  service, 
and  it  was  pointed  out  that  in  1893  a  P.  and  O.  packet 
had  delivered  the  London  mails  in  Singapore  in  19!  days, 


and  that  in  about  1 880  a  mail  despatched  from  Singapore 
by  the  Stirling  Castle  had  reached  London  via  Brindisi 
in  twenty  days.  The  shortest  time  occupied  by  the 
P.  and  O.  mail  in  transit  London  to  Singapore  in  1906  was 
19  days  17  hours  25  minutes;  in  1907,  20  days  10  hours 
35  minutes;    and  1908,  19  days  18  hours  30  minutes. 

A  new  seven-year  contract  provided  an  improved 
service  for  a  less  subsidy,  and  commenced  on  the  ist 
February  1908. 

In  July  191 7,  owing  to  the  War,  the  P.  and  O.  contract 
service  to  the  Straits  ceased,  but  still  continued  betw^een 
the  United  Kingdom  and  Bombay,  to  and  from  which 
port  the  Straits  mails  continued  to  be  conveyed.  On 
arrival  in  Bombay  the  mails  were  railed  across  to  Nega- 
patam  and  brought  on  by  the  B.  I.  contract  steamers; 
but  the  service  became  irregular.  The  homeward 
service  via  Suez  continued  weekly,  but  delays  en  route 
rendered  delivery  in  London  very  irregular,  the  period 
of  transit  extending  sometimes  to  as  much  as  fifty  days. 
Sorting  between  Penang  and  Singapore  ceased  on  account 
of  the  censorship.  The  P.  and  O.  Company  conveyed 
free  of  charge  any  literature  collected  by  the  Post  Office 
for  distribution  among  His  Majesty's  naval  or  military 

The  British  India  Mail 

In  1883  it  was  decided,  after  consulting  the  Chamber 
of  Commerce  at  Singapore  and  Penang,  to  discontinue, 
after  the  expiration,  on  the  30th  April  1884,  of  the  con- 
tract between  the  Indian  Government  and  the  British 
India  Steam  Navigation  Company,  the  annual  contri- 
bution of  $6,000  made  by  this  Colony  for  a  fortnightly 
mail  service  between  India  and  the  Straits  via  Burma. 
The  mails  had  come  via  India,  as  \vell  as  other  routes, 
since  the  days  of  Raffles.  In  1887  ^  scheme  was  under 
consideration  with  a  view  of  having  mails  from  Europe 
for  Penang  sent  by  P.  and  O.  packet  to  Bombay,  and  for- 
warded thence  via  Negapatam  in  the  alternate  week, 
when  there  was  no  opportunity  by  the  direct  route. 


The  scheme  depended  on  a  satisfactory  arrangement 
being  made  for  the  subsidised  steamers  which  ran 
between  certain  ports  in  the  Madras  Presidency  and  the 
Straits  Settlements  once  a  fortnight  on  the  arrival  there 
of  the  mails  from  Europe  for  Penang.  The  mails  from 
London  for  Penang  would  be  delivered  in  twenty-five 
days  instead  of  occupying  a  month  in  transmission  by 
French  packet  via  Singapore,  and  the  Colony  would  have 
a  weekly  British  mail  service  with  England. 

In  1889  the  new  route,  which  had  been  opened  to  the 
Penang  public  through  the  energy  of  Mr.  Huttenbach, 
had  proved  a  marked  success  ;  the  average  period  of 
transit  of  the  mails  to  England  was  under  twenty-seven 
days,  and  a  mail  by  this  service  was  regularly  advertised 
and  made  up  in  Singapore  also. 

In  his  report  for  1 894  Mr.  Noel  Trotter  wrote  : 

"  A  matter  of  much  importance  to  Penang  is  the 
inclusion  in  the  estimates  for  1 895  of  a  sum  of  $1  5,000  as 
a  subsidy  towards  the  promotion  of  a  fortnightly  mail 
service  between  Penang  and  India,  so  as  to  provide, 
conjointly  with  the  existing  service  by  P.  and  O.  packets, 
regular  weekly  communication  between  Europe  and  the 
northern  capital  of  this  Colony.  The  scheme  con- 
templates placing  the  present  gratuitous  homeward 
service  from  Penang,  via  Negapatam,  on  a  more 
satisfactory  footing,  and  the  conveyance  of  the  mails 
from  Europe  under  contract  via  Bombay,  Calcutta,  and 
Rangoon,  instead  of  by  French  packet  via  Singapore. 
The  British  India  Steam  Navigation  Company  is  pre- 
pared to  accept  the  subsidy  mentioned  for  the  service 
for  a  year,  and  the  arrangement  only  awaits  the 
approval  of  the  Secretary  of  State  to  be  brought  into 
operation.  The  scheme  is  tentative,  and  in  the  nature 
of  a  compromise ;  but  I  hope  it  is  the  thin  end  of  the 
wedge  which  will  ultimately  result  in  the  permanent 
adoption  of  a  mail  service  for  Penang  by  one  or  the 
other  of  the  direct  routes,  via  Calcutta  or  Nega- 
patam. I  believe  that  if  a  service  possessing  the 
principal  elements  of  success  were  established,  Perak 
would  be  willing  to  contribute  liberally  towards  its  cost, 
and  it  would  also  be  an  advantage  to  Sumatra  and 
II— 9 


Selangor  to  make  use  of  it.  Further,  the  fact  should 
not  be  lost  sight  of  that  if  arrangements  were  made 
for  the  conveyance  of  Singapore  mails  more  expe- 
ditiously via  India  than  by  French  packet,  a  sum  of 
about  $10,000  per  annum  now  paid  by  this  Department 
to  France  would  be  available.  There  would  be  other 
sums  which  could  be  apphed  to  the  subsidy,  provided 
success  were  assured.  The  best  proof,  however,  that 
success  is  practicable  is  to  be  found  in  the  fact  that  the 
two  fastest  passages  of  the  mails  homeward  were  per- 
formed by  the  Negapatam  route,  the  transit  occupying 
in  each  case  twenty-one  and  a  half  days  from  Penang  to 
London.  The  following  are  the  relative  dates  in  the  two 
cases  in  question.  The  tendency  of  the  time  is  to  increase 
the  speed  of  the  contract  steamers  running  between 
Europe  and  Bombay  much  more  than  between  Europe 
and  China,  and  on  the  occasion  of  some  of  the  recent 
fast  voyages  from  Brindisi  to  Bombay,  had  there  been 
a  ten-knot  steamer  at  Calcutta  or  Negapatam  to  bring 
on  the  mails  for  the  Straits,  they  could  have  been 
delivered  in  Penang  in  twenty-one  days  and  in  Singapore 
in  twenty-three  days . " 

It  was  not  until  1901  that  the  homeward  B.I.  service 
from  Penang  was  subsidised,  and  in  1902  the  contract 
was  extended  to  Singapore.  In  1904  arrangements 
were  made  for  the  service  to  be  extended  to  Singapore  in 
both  directions,  thus  completing  the  whole  scheme. 
The  mail  was  to  be  sorted  on  board  between  Penang  and 
Singapore.  The  subsidy  paid  for  conveying  the  mails 
between  India  and  Penang  and  Singapore  in  both  direc- 
tions was  $75,000  a  year,  and  the  full  service  commenced 
in  February  1905. 

A  new  five-year  contract  operated  from  the  12th 
February  1908.  From  the  22nd  February  the  route 
for  the  homeward  mails  conveyed  by  this  Company  was 
via  Madras,  instead  of  as  formerly  via  Rangoon.  This 
contract  also  provided  for  a  weekly  immigration  service 
from  Madras  and  Negapatam.  Of  the  subsidy  of 
Rs.  375,000  ($214,286)  per  annum  for  this  joint  service, 
the  cost  of  the  mail  service,  defrayed  by  the  Post  Office, 


was  $90,000,  towards  which  the  Federated  Malay  States 
contributed  $12,714.  This  contract  was  extended  for 
a  further  two  years,  from  the  nth  February  191 8,  at  a 
subsidy  increased  by  Rs.  50,000  per  annum. 

Railway  Mail  Services 

Singapore  has  become  the  terminus  of  an  extensive 
railway  system  spreading  through  the  Malay  Peninsula 
and  Siam  to  Bangkok,  with  numerous  branches  from  the 
main  line.  The  first  railway  to  be  built  in  Malaya  was 
that  from  Taiping  to  Port  Weld,  opened  on  the  ist  June 
1885,  an  eight-mile  track.  Another  section  of  twenty- 
two  miles  from  Kuala  Lumpur  to  Klang  was  opened 
in  September  1886,  and  extended  to  Port  Swettenham  in 
the  same  year.  Seremban  was  linked  up  with  Port 
Dickson  in  1891.  Thus  the  chief  towns  in  Perak, 
Selangor,  and  Negri  Sembilan  had  railway  communica- 
tion with  their  respective  ports,  and  mails  to  and  from 
Singapore  followed  these  routes.  The  next  step  was 
the  connecting  up  of  the  three  chief  towns  by  a  line 
forming  the  backbone  of  the  whole  system.  In  1900  the 
main  line  extended  from  Prai  (Penang)  to  Seremban. 
Seremban  was  linked  up  with  Tampin  and  Malacca  in 
1905,  from  which  date  a  regular  mail  train  ran  to  Prai. 
The  Singapore- Kranji  Railway  was  opened  in  1903, 
and  the  mail  exchanges  with  Johore  followed  this  route, 
the  former  mail-coach  service  being  discontinued. 
With  the  completion  of  the  Johore  Railway  in  1909, 
nearly  all  the  mails  between  Singapore  and  the  central 
and  western  portions  of  the  Peninsula  were  conveyed 
by  rail,  in  most  cases  with  enormous  advantage  in 
speed.  The  main  line  has  already  been  linked  up  with 
the  Siamese  system,  and  a  through  train  service  between 
Singapore  and  Bangkok  was  opened  on  the  ist  July 
191 8.  The  mail  service  on  this  section  commenced  on 
the  ist  November  191 8.  There  is  already  another 
line  branching  into  Kelantan,  another  across  to  Singkhla 
(Senggora)  on  the  east  coast,  another  to  Kantong  (Trang) 
on  the  west. 


Singapore  mails  are  greatly  accelerated  by  the  iron 
road  over  the  Peninsula.  The  mails  from  Europe  are 
now  disembarked  from  the  mail  packets  at  Penang  and 
sent  down  to  Singapore  by  express  with  very  often  more 
than  twenty-four  hours'  gain.  For  some  time  before  the 
War  these  European  mails  had  been  sorted  in  railway 
sorting  offices  and  made  ready  for  immediate  delivery  on 
arrival  in  Singapore.  The  War  and  the  censorship  put 
an  end  to  this. 

Siamese  and  Kelantan  mails  for  and  from  the  West 
no  longer  pass  through  Singapore,  but  by  rail  via  Penang. 

At  the  recent  rate  of  progress  it  will  not  be  long  before 
Singapore  has  direct  intercourse  by  rail  with  Indo-China, 
China,  and  India,  and  it  does  not  require  an  exceptionally 
strong  imagination  to  take  one  from  Singapore  to 
London  by  rail,  via  Constantinople  or  via  Siberia. 

Postage  Rates 

A  survey  of  the  international  postage  rates  of  the 
Colony  divides  itself  naturally  into  two  periods — before 
and  after  the  adhesion  to  the  Universal  Postal  Conven- 
tion in  1877.  The  local  rates  are  not  governed  by  the 
International  Convention.  Before  1877  the  rates  de- 
pended on  the  charges  made  by  the  various  countries 
through  whose  territory  correspondence  passed,  in 
whose  vessels  it  was  conveyed,  in  whose  territory  it  was 
delivered,  on  the  route  followed,  on  the  distance,  and  on 
whether  the  postage  was  prepaid  or  collected  on  delivery. 
In  many  cases  postage  to  destination  could  not  be  pre- 
paid, in  others  prepayment  was  compulsory.  Every 
letter  was  a  matter  of  account  between  the  various 
countries  concerned  in  its  transmission,  a  system  impos- 
sible to  imagine  as  being  applied  to  the  millions  of  letters 
exchanged  at  the  present  day.  Under  the  Convention, 
on  the  other  hand,  uniformity  of  postage  rates  throughout 
the  Postal  Union  was  the  governing  principle,  based  on 
the  fact  that  distance  is  an  infinitesimal  factor  in  the 
cost  of  transport  of  a  letter. 

Without  attempting  to  trace  the  actual  rates  and  their 


innumerable  variations  during  the  hundred  years,  it  may 
be  interesting  to  recall  some  of  the  outstanding  features 
of  the  Straits  postage  from  the  date  of  adhesion  to  the 
Postal  Union  in  1 877.  There  was  animmediate  reduction 
then.  Between  1876  and  1879,  for  example,  the  rate  to 
the  United  Kingdom  was  reduced  from  28  cents  to  12 
cents  via  Brindisi,  and  from  28  cents  to  8  cents  via 
Marseilles.  In  the  report  for  1893  we  find  the  following 
passages  : 

**  The  Straits  rates  of  postage  on  letters  for  all  destina- 
tions outside  British  Malaya  of  5  cents,  which  is  nominally 
the  equivalent  of  2^d.,  had  continued  with  the  fall  of 
exchange  to  shrink  in  value  until  it  became  worth  only 
one-third  of  a  penny  in  excess  of  a  penny,  a  penny  being 
the  rate  of  postage  which  must  eventually  become 
universal.  But  in  consequence  of  the  necessity  for 
raising  general  revenue,  owing  to  the  straitened  condition 
of  the  Colonial  finances,  the  Government  decided  in 
August  to  make  use  of  its  rights  to  level  up  the  rates  of 
postage  to  a  closer  approximation  of  the  Postal  Union 
unit,  and  accordingly  an  Order-in-Council  has  been 
passed  raising  the  foreign  letter  rate  of  5  cents,  and  the 
domestic  rate  of  2  cents,  to  8  cents  and  3  cents  re- 
spectively, from  the  ist  March  1894.  The  price  of 
foreign  post  cards  will  be  raised  from  2  cents  to  3  cents 

In  the  spring  of  1895  ^  suggestion  which  originated 
with  the  International  Bureau  of  the  Postal  Union  (which 
has  charge  of  such  matters)  was  received  through 
the  Secretary  of  State  that  for  the  sake  of  uniformity 
with  Hongkong,  North  Borneo,  and  Labuan  the  Straits 
should  fix  10,4,  and  2  cents,  instead  of  8,  3,  and  i  cents,  as 
the  equivalent  of  the  Postal  Union  primary  rates  of  25, 
10,  and  5  centimes.  Of  this  the  Postmaster-General 
wrote  : 

"  It  is  true  that,  since  our  present  rates  were  fixed, 
silver  had  further  depreciated,  and  the  suggested  equiva- 
lents were  in  closer  approximation  to  the  Union  rates 
than  our  own.     I  reported  against  the  proposed  change, 


as  the  principle  of  periodically  adjusting  the  rates  of 
postage  to  a  gold  basis  seemed  to  me,  from  the  point  of 
view  of  public  convenience,  to  be  an  extremely  objection- 
able one,  besides  which,  in  the  face  of  the  fact  that  the 
revenue  of  the  Post  Office  exceeded  its  expenditure,  there 
was  no  departmental  reason  for  making  any  alteration. 

1  also  opposed  it  on  the  grounds  that,  taking  a  broad 
view  of  the  matter,  the  time  when  adverse  conditions  of 
trade  obtain,  as  they  did  then,  the  obligations  of  the 
Department  to  the  public  became  at  once  intensified 
and  enlarged." 

The  1902  report  had  the  following  paragraph  : 

"  The  claim  of  the  cheapest  postage  in  the  world  is 
heard  periodically  from  different  parts  of  the  world,  but 
undoubtedly  the  Straits  Settlements  postal  tariff  as  a 
whole  compares  favourably  with  that  of  any  other 
country.  Post  cards  available  in  the  Colony  and  to  the 
Federated  Malay  States  are  sold  at  one-fifth  of  a  penny 
each  ;  the  latter  rate  of  postage  throughout  the  same  area 
is  slightly  over  a  halfpenny  ;  the  postage  on  letters  to 
any  place  (with  very  few  exceptions)  in  the  British 
Empire  is  four-fifths  of  a  penny  per  half-ounce  up  to 

2  ounces  of  printed  matter,  can  be  sent  to  any  part  of  the 
civilised  world  for  one-fifth  of  a  penny  and  10  ounces  for 
a  penny,  which  is  absolutely  the  cheapest  international 
postage  I  have  ever  heard  of.  Thus  a  letter  and  a  news- 
paper can  be  mailed  hence  to  almost  any  part  of  the 
Empire  at  a  total  cost  of  a  penny.  Our  registration  fee 
of  one  penny  is  without  parallel  for  cheapness  ;  most 
other  countries  charge  2d.  or  2|<i." 

In  the  1905  report  we  find  it  stated  that  : 

"  The  question  of  the  adoption  of  universal  penny 
postage  was  discussed  a  great  deal  in  1905,  especially  in 
the  Press  in  England,  but  its  proposal  in  the  Postal 
Congress  recently  held  at  Rome  does  not  appear  to  have 
received  much  support.  Egypt  has  now  taken  the  lead 
in  this  matter  in  a  practical  way,  and  has  offered  to 
introduce  penny  postage  with  any  country  which  will 
reciprocate.  This  Colony  is  ripe  for  the  adoption  of 
penny  postage  with  the  rest  of  the  world.     Imperial 


penny  postage,  adopted  seven  years  ago  on  the  ground 
of  sentiment,  has  proved,  in  this  Colony,  a  sound 
business  proposition,  and  a  justification  for  a  general 
extension  of  penny  postage.  It  is  certainly  anomalous 
that  a  letter  can  be  sent  from  this  Colony  to  Canada, 
a  distance  of  over  10,000  miles,  for  a  penny,  whereas 
for  the  same  letter  from  Singapore  to  Rhio  (Nether- 
lands India)  or  from  Penang  to  Kedah  (a  Siamese  depen- 
dency), distances  of  forty-eight  and  twenty-four  miles 
respectively,  2^d.  is  the  postage  ;  it  seems  still  more 
anomalous  when  it  is  considered  that  2^(1.  is  about  a 
quarter  of  a  day's  wages  of  an  ordinary  native  working 
man  in  these  parts.  In  such  circumstances  it  can 
hardly  be  a  matter  for  surprise  that  natives  often 
evade  paying  postage  on  letters  when  there  is  an  oppor- 
tunity of  sending  them  by  private  hands." 

The  usual  Congress  which  met  at  Rome  in  May  1906 
was  against  the  universal  penny  postage  proposal,  and 
though  the  primary  rates  remained  the  same,  the  unit 
of  weight  was  increased  from  half  an  ounce  to  one  ounce, 
with  effect  from  the  ist  October  1907.  At  the  same 
time  a  reduced  charge  was  made  for  every  ounce  after 
the  first.  The  War  of  19 14  was  responsible  for  an 
indefinite  postponement  of  the  next  International 
Conference — it  was  to  have  been  held  in  Madrid,  and 
the  international  rates  have  undergone  no  alteration. 
From  the  ist  January  191 8,  however,  the  Straits 
equivalents  were  raised  to  those  which  had  been  sug- 
gested in  1895,  namely  10,  4,  and  2  cents  for  the  25, 
10,  and  5  centimes  international  rates.  This  amounted 
to  raising  the  letter  rate  to  countries  outside  the  British 
Empire  from  8  cents  to  10  cents. 

In  considering  postage  rates  it  must  always  be  borne 
in  mind  that  the  exchange  value  of  the  dollar  varied 
between  1870  and  1906,  when  it  was  fixed  on  a  gold 
basis  at  2s.  4d.,  from  45.  6d.  to  is.  S^d.  in  a  steady 
downward  progression. 

In  1907  a  Local  Postage  Union  was  established 
between    the    Colony,    the    Federated    Malay    States, 


Johore,  Sarawak,  and  Brunei,  by  which  the  rates  of 
postage  on  letters,  parcels,  and  other  articles  trans- 
mitted between  these  administrations  were  the  same  as 
those  in  force  within  the  Colony.  From  the  ist  January 
1908  the  British  Borneo  Government  joined  this  Union 
in  so  far  as  they  agreed  to  receive  and  deliver  free  of 
charge  postal  matter  prepaid  at  these  reduced  rates, 
although  they  were  unable  to  adopt  reciprocal  rates. 
Consequent  on  the  transfer  of  the  States  of  Kelantan, 
Trengganu,  Kedah,  and  Perils  from  Siamese  to  British 
protection  the  postage  rates  to  and  from  these  States 
became  the  same  as  those  of  the  Malayan  Postage  Union, 
from  the  ist  August  1909.  The  letter  rates  remained 
the  same  until  the  ist  January  191 8,  when  they  were 
raised  from  3  cents  for  2  ounces  to  4  cents  for  2  ounces 
(initial  rate),  and  2  cents  for  every  additional  2  ounces. 

Imperial  Penny  Postage 

Christmas  Day  1898  was  the  birthday  of  Imperial 
Penny  Postage,  and  its  introduction  is  referred  to  by 
Mr.  Noel  Trotter  in  his  report  for  that  year  : 

"  The  chief  event  of  the  year,  postally  as  well  as 
otherwise,  in  this  Colony  was  the  adoption,  by  order 
of  the  Secretary  of  State,  of  Imperial  Penny  Postage, 
inaugurated  on  Christmas  Day.  Four  cents  was  fixed 
as  the  equivalent  of  a  penny,  but  that  sum  is  really 
slightly  less  than  the  popular  unit.  In  a  leading  article 
in  the  London  Times  dealing  with  the  brilliant  stroke 
of  Imperial  policy  in  extending  the  boon  of  Penny 
Postage  to  every  part  of  Her  Majesty's  Dominions  that 
would  accept  it,  it  was  stated  :  *  Christmas  Day  1898 
will  henceforth  be  a  memorable  date  in  the  annals  of 
the  British  Empire.  It  marks  the  initiation,  though 
not  the  completion,  of  what  will  no  doubt  shortly 
become  a  uniform  system  of  postage  for  letters  at  the 
rate  of  a  penny  for  half  an  ounce  to  all  parts  of  the 
Empire.  At  present  the  Australasian  Colonies,  includ- 
ing New  Zealand,  stand  aloof,  and  the  adhesion  of  the 
Cape  Colony  has  not  yet  been  received.  But  the 
omission  of  these  Colonies  and  some  others,  such  as 


Mauritius,  from  the  list  issued  by  the  Post  Office  of 
British  possessions  and  protectorates  to  which  the  new 
system  appHes  can  only  be  regarded  as  temporary.  The 
contagious  momentum  of  a  change  so  far-reaching,  and 
so  conducive  to  the  social  solidarity  of  the  Empire, 
must  in  the  long  run  prove  irresistible,  even  though 
financial  considerations  have  led  in  some  cases  to  hesi- 
tation and  delay.' 

"  There  are,  of  course,  two  aspects  in  which  to  con- 
template this  welcome  measure  of  postal  reform  ;  the 
first  relates  to  its  social  and  commercial  results,  and 
the  second  views  it  in  its  financial  relationship  ;  in  this 
Colony  it  goes  without  saying  that  its  success  in  its 
first  aspect  is  assured,  and  after  two  months'  experience 
of  the  second,  I  am  able  to  add  that  the  result  will 
probably  surpass  the  most  sanguine  expectations. 
There  will,  of  course,  be  a  large  increase  of  correspon- 
dence with  the  Mother  Country,  but  owing  to  communi- 
cation being  confined  to  practically  only  a  mail  once  a 
week  (the  odd  monthly  mail  counting  at  present  for 
very  Httle),  expansion  is  necessarily  more  limited  than 
in  cases  where  there  are  frequent  opportunities  of  com- 
munication ;  it  is,  therefore,  on  letters  going  in  certain 
other  directions  that  we  may  expect  to  see  the  tem- 
porarily reduced  revenue  rapidly  recoup  itself ;  an 
extraordinary  increase  in  the  number  of  letters 
exchanged  with  Hongkong  has  already  been  observed, 
and  Chinese  traders,  alert  to  take  advantage  of  the 
economic  improvements,  will  now  be  further  stimu- 
lated to  abandon  smuggling  letters  in  favour  of  using 
the  Post  Office.  Letters  not  exceeding  half  an  ounce  in 
weight  from  soldiers  and  seamen  in  Her  Majesty's 
service  continue  to  be  carried  to  all  parts  of  the  Empire 
for  a  postage  of  2  cents  each." 

Mr.  Trotter's  prophecy  of  1898  with  reference  to  the 
financial  aspects  of  the  introduction  of  the  Imperial 
Penny  Post  was  more  than  fulfilled.  In  1 898  the  number 
of  articles  which  passed  through  the  post  was  6,660,968, 
and  the  postal  revenue  $234,859,  as  compared  with 
19,292,460  and  $609,597  in  1908,  only  ten  years  later. 

Although  during  the  War   the    Imperial   postage   in 


many  parts  of  the  Empire  was  raised  from  a  penny  to 
three-halfpence,  the  rate  has  remained  unaltered  in  this 
Colony  :   4  cents. 

Local  Newspaper  Rates 

The  postage  of  2  cents  (limit  of  weight  4  ounces)  on 
newspapers  of  local  origin  when  transmitted  between 
the  Settlements  and  the  Protected  Native  States  and 
Johore  was  abolished  in  September  1888.  The  privilege 
of  free  postage  was  partially  withdrawn  in  1891,  owing 
to  abuse,  and  confined  to  newspapers  posted  direct  by 
the  publishers  within  seven  days  of  publication  ;  but  this 
concession  terminated  with  the  year  1893,  when  the 
rate  became  i  cent  for  2  ounces.  In  1897  the  rate  for 
local  newspapers  became  i  cent  for  the  first  3  ounces 
and  I  cent  for  every  further  2  ounces  or  part  thereof. 
In  1914  the  maximum  postage  on  newspapers  published 
locally  and  posted  within  seven  days  of  publication  was 
fixed  at  2  cents.  From  the  ist  January  191 6  the  rate 
became  2  cents  for  any  weight  not  exceeding  4  ounces, 
and  2  cents  for  anything  above,  with  a  maximum  of 
4  cents.  Late  fees  have  not  been  charged  on  news- 
papers since  1905. 

Post  Cards 

The  Straits  issued  international  post  cards  in  1879  at 
3  cents  postage,  an  extra  charge  being  made  for  the 
card.  In  1883  they  were  sold  at  face  value.  Reply- 
cards  were  issued  in  1882.  In  1890  the  price  of  these 
cards  was  reduced  to  2  cents,  increased  to  3  cents  in 
1894,  and  on  the  ist  January  191 8  to  4  cents.  Local 
post  cards  for  use  within  the  Straits  Settlements  and 
to  the  Malay  States  and  Johore  were  introduced  on  the 
15th  December  1884  at  i  cent  and  sold  at  face  value. 
They  remained  at  the  same  price  until  the  ist  January 
191 8,  when  the  postage  was  raised  to  2  cents.  At  one 
period  a  post  card  between  Singapore  and  Penang  cost 
3  cents  if  conveyed  by  P.  and  O.  mail,  but  only  i  cent 
by  other  vessels. 


The  Parcel  Post 

A  parcel  post  service  between  the  Straits  and  the 
United  Kingdom  by  P.  and  O.  packet  was  inaugurated 
on  the  I  St  April  1875.  The  charge  was  is.  4d.  a  pound 
and  the  limit  of  weight  so  pounds.  The  following  year 
the  Postmaster-General  remarked  on  the  paucity  of 
parcels — no  parcels  were  received  from  the  United 
Kingdom,  and  only  thirty-six  were  sent  from  Singapore. 
In  1880  the  number  despatched  was  still  less  than  one 
hundred.  The  great  obstacle  to  the  success  of  the 
arrangement  was  that  there  was  no  parcel  post  in  the 
United  Kingdom,  and  this  difficulty  was  surmounted  by 
the  establishment  of  the  Inland  Parcel  Post  in  the 
Mother  Country  on  the  ist  August  1883.  Formerly  it 
had  been  necessary  that  parcels  from  the  Straits  should 
be  applied  for  at  122  Leadenhall  Street,  London,  the 
head  office  of  the  P.  and  O.  Company,  and  this  caused 
delay  in  delivery,  and  expense  and  inconvenience  to  the 
addressees.  In  1885,  however,  the  P.  and  O.  Company 
started  delivering  parcels  free  of  charge  within  a  mile 
of  its  head  office,  and  articles  for  places  beyond  that 
limit  were  sent  on  by  post  at  a  trifling  cost  to  the 
addressees.  On  the  ist  May  1886  the  rate  of  postage 
on  these  P.  and  O.  parcels  was  reduced  from  32  cents  a 
pound  to  20  cents  a  pound  (which  was  the  rate  by  the 
Departmental  Service  at  that  time)  and  has  remained 
the  same  ever  since ;  but  the  service  has  been  very  little 

On  the  ist  October  1885  a  strictly  departmental  parcel 
post  with  the  United  Kingdom  came  into  operation. 
The  postage  was  20  cents  a  pound,  as  compared  with 
32  cents  under  the  former  (P.  and  O.)  system,  with  free 
delivery  at  destination.  The  limit  of  weight  was  7pounds. 
Arrangements  were  made  in  the  same  year  for  the  trans- 
mission of  parcels  to  and  from  various  other  countries 
through  the  intermediary  of  the  United  Kingdom. 
This  arrangement  has  been  extended  from  time  to  time, 
and  now  applies  to  all  countries  with  which  the  United 


Kingdom  has  a  parcel  post  agreement.  In  October 
1886  the  rate  was  further  reduced  to  20  cents  for  the 
first  pound,  and  12  cents  a  pound  for  each  succeeding 
pound.  Neither  the  United  Kingdom  nor  the  Colony 
is  a  party  to  the  International  Postal  Union  Parcel  Post 

In  1878  a  parcel  post  service  with  India  was  under 
consideration.  There  had  been  a  parcel  post  in  India 
since  1854.  From  the  ist  September  1885  the  Indian 
Exchange  was  utilised  for  the  transmission  of  parcels 
between  the  Straits  and  numerous  other  countries. 
The  service  with  Hongkong  was  started  in  1878,  and 
extended  during  the  same  year  to  the  British  Post 
Office  in  China  and  Japan.  Regulations  for  parcel  post 
with  Ceylon  were  gazetted  in  1881.  Notwithstanding 
these  various  foreign  exchanges,  there  was  no  local 
parcel  post  within  the  Colony  and  between  the  Settle- 
ments. Regulations  for  this  service  were  published  in 
1884,  with  effect  from  the  ist  February  of  that  year. 
This  accounted  for  a  sudden  big  increase  in  the  number 
of  parcels  handled  by  the  Post  Office.  In  May  1885  the 
Straits  Settlements  local  service  was  extended  to  the 
Protected  Native  States,  and  on  the  ist  May  1886  the 
limit  of  weight  was  raised  from  7  pounds  to  1 1  pounds 
(except  P.  and  O.  parcels). 

In  March  1887  a  service  by  German  packet  was 
started  with  Europe.  In  1895  the  parcel  tariff  to  all 
parts  of  the  Empire  having  "  Imperial  Penny  Postage  " 
was  simplified  by  the  adoption  of  the  "  triple  scale  "  of 
charges.  The  Department  had  been  unable  to  arrange 
a  parcel  service  with  the  Phihppines  before  the  ist 
January  19 16.  Up  to  that  time  it  had  been  impossible 
to  send  parcels  from  the  Straits  to  the  Philippine  Islands. 

In  1895  more  time  must  have  been  spent  in  classifying 
the  contents  of  the  parcels,  for  it  was  stated  that 
millinery  headed  the  list  inward,  and  cigars  outward. 
It  was  not  until  the  year  of  war  191 7  that  parcels  for 
home  were  sent  via  India — they  had  always  been  sent 
by  P.  and  O.  mail  fortnightly,  and  occasionally  from  the 


I  St  November  191 3  by  German  mail.  The  parcel  post 
service  was  considerably  restricted  during  the  War  owing 
to  the  innumerable  import  and  export  prohibitions. 
When  tonnage  became  very  scarce,  attempts  were  made 
to  use  the  parcel  post  for  the  transmission  of  large 
quantities— tons — of  local  produce  made  up  in  parcels  not 
exceeding  1 1  pounds  !  When  the  P.  and  O.  Company's 
vessels  ceased  running  east  of  Bombay  in  191 7  the  parcel 
mails  for  England  were  sent  by  the  Holt  Line  direct  or 
by  B.  I.  Line  across  India. 


From  the  notes  on  the  Post  Office  under  the  East 
India  Company  it  will  have  been  observed  that  in  the 
early  days  all  letters  underwent  a  form  of  registration, 
that  is  to  say,  they  were  all  entered  in  books,  andanadvice 
accompanied  them  when  despatched.  This  system  did 
not,  however,  provide  for  any  compensation  to  be  paid 
by  the  Post  Office  in  case  of  loss.  Registration,  as  the 
term  is  now  understood,  came  into  operation  between  the 
United  Kingdom  and  the  Colonies  on  the  ist  January 
1858,  the  fee  being  6d.  In  the  Straits  in  1872  the  fee 
was  1 2  cents,  which  was  4  cents  more  than  was  charged 
in  England  at  that  time.  This  fee  was  reduced  to  8  cents, 
and  in  August  1890  to  5  cents.  It  was  raised  again  on 
the  ist  January  1904  to  10  cents — at  which  figure  it  has 
since  remained,  in  accordance  with  the  Postal  Union 
Convention.  The  indemnity,  payable  only  in  case  of 
total  loss  of  the  article  registered,  had  been  $10  until  the 
ist  January  1899,  when  it  was  raised  to  $20.  The  steady 
increase  in  the  number  of  articles  registered  in  the  Colony 
has  been  ascribed  partly  to  the  abandonment,  to  a  certain 
extent,  by  natives  of  the  practice  of  posting  letters  wholly 
unstamped  in  favour  of  the  more  secure  and  satisfactory 
method.  The  idea  that  posting  letters  unpaid  ensures 
delivery  is  still  prevalent  to  a  considerable  extent, 
particularly  amongst  Tamils 

In  191 7,  the  last  year  for  which  figures  are  available 
at    the   time   of   writing,    approximately   3    per   cent. 


of  the  articles  posted  in  the  Straits  were  registered,  and 
of  those  deUvered  over  5  per  cent.  Official  registered 
envelopes  in  five  sizes  were  introduced  in  February  1 891 . 


The  Postal  Insurance  system  was  first  introduced  to 
the  Straits  in  July  1 89 1 ,  when  it  was  applied  to  the  parcel 
exchange  with  England.  It  was  then  very  little  used. 
The  following  year,  the  i  st  January,  a  system  of  insurance 
for  all  descriptions  of  articles  sent  by  post  within  the 
limits  of  the  Colony  was  introduced.  The  rates  were 
reduced  in  1 894,  and  the  limit  of  insured  value  increased 
from  $250  to  S500.  In  1895  the  arrangement  was 
applied  to  the  parcel  post  with  India.  The  reduction 
of  rates  in  1 894  caused  a  rapid  increase  both  in  the  num- 
ber and  value  of  articles  insured.  The  Colony  became  a 
party  to  the  International  Insured  Letter  Agreement 
(Washington)  in  1899.  The  system  was  extended  to 
the  letter  post  with  the  United  Kingdom  from  the  ist 
January,  1900,  since  when  it  has  been  further  extended 
from  time  to  time  to  a  great  many  countries. 

In  1906  there  was  another  reduction  in  insurance 
charges,  and  the  number  and  value  of  articles  insured 
nearly  doubled,  the  total  being  7,925  articles  and 
$1,302,422  value  (in  the  whole  Colony).  The  amount 
realised  from  insurance  fees  was  $781.40,  so,  even 
assuming  that  there  were  no  claims  for  compensation, 
the  system  was  not  then — nor  is  it  now — a  profitable 
one  to  the  Department,  as  the  cost  of  the  special  pre- 
cautions which  have  to  be  taken  with  such  articles  is 
very  great.  In  1907  the  revenue  on  this  service  was 
still  less  than  in  1906,  owing  to  the  reduction  of  the 
maximum  insurance  rate  chargeable  under  the  new 
International  Insured  Letter  Agreement  of  Rome  from 
J  to  ^  per  cent,  of  the  sum  insured. 

By  191 7  the  value  of  insured  articles  handled  in  the 
whole  Colony  had  reached  six  milhon  dollars.  The 
maximum  amount  for  which  an  article  can  be  insured 
with  the  local  Post  Office  is  £400. 


Cash  on  Delivery  and  Value  Payable  Post 
At  the  invitation  of  the  Home  Government  arrange- 
ments were  made  to  introduce,  on  the  ist  January  1909, 
a  Cash  on  Dehvery  service  in  respect  of  parcels,  both 
insured  and  uninsured,  and  registered  and  insured  letter 
packets  exchanged  between  the  Colony  and  the  United 
Kingdom  and  certain  British  colonies  and  protectorates. 
At  first  the  service  was  very  little  used.  A  similar 
service  with  the  Federated  Malay  States  started  on  the 
I  St  January  19 10,  and  with  Johore,  Kelantan,  Sarawak, 
Gibraltar,  Malta,  and  Egypt  during  the  same  year. 
Kedah  and  British  North  Borneo  participated  from  the 
I  St  January  191 3.  The  Value  Payable  Post  with  India 
was  inaugurated  on  the  ist  April  191 2,  during  which 
year  there  was  nearly  100  per  cent,  increase  in  this 
branch .  The  Trade  Charges  collected  by  the  Department 
(including  the  other  Settlements)  on  c.o.d.  and  v.p.p. 
articles  in  191 7  was  over  $416,000  in  respect  of  some 
20,000  articles.  There  is  a  great  future  for  this  service. 
The  Indians  of  the  country  are  already  well  acquainted 
with  the  v.p.p.,  which  they  have  had  in  India  since  1877, 
and  the  traffic  is  all  in  the  inward  direction.  The  War 
has  shown  the  Europeans  how  useful  the  c.o.d.  service 
can  be  to  them,  though  they  cannot  be  said  to  have 
become  accustomed  to  it.  In  this  exchange  again  nearly 
all  the  c.o.d.  parcels  are  inward  to  the  Colony  ;  similarly 
with  Egypt,  which  sends  many  parcels  of  cigarettes. 
The  outward  service  is  insignificant,  except  in  the  case 
of  the  Malay  States.  The  service  is  very  profitable  to 
the  Department,  directly  and  indirectly. 

The  Chinese  Sub-Post  Office 

"  The  attachment  of  the  Chinese  to  their  parents  and 
famihes  is  one  of  the  most  interesting  features  of  their 
character,  and  it  is  interesting  to  watch  the  modes  in 
which  it  develops  itself  amongst  those  who  have  migrated 
to  the  Archipelago,  and  remain  for  many  years,  and  often 
for  life,  cut  oif  from  all  direct  intercourse  with  their 


"  During  the  past  month  some  of  the  streets  in  the 
business  quarter  of  Singapore  were  occasionally  densely- 
crowded    by   Chinese.     These   were   principally   coolies 
from  the  gambler  and  pepper  plantations  who  had  come 
into  town  for  the  purpose  of  sending  their  annual  letters 
and  remittances  to  their  families  in  China  by  the  junks 
which    were    leaving    on    their   return    voyage.     These 
letters  and  moneys  are  either  entrusted  to  a  comrade  from 
the  same  part  of  China  who,  fortunate  enough  to  have 
accumulated  a  small  competency,  is  about  to  revisit  his 
native  land  ;    or  they  are  delivered  to  a  passenger  with 
whom  the  remitter  may  be  acquainted  ;   or,  lastly,  they 
are  confided  to  one  of  those  men,  to  be  found  in  almost 
every  junk,  who  make  it   a  regular  business  to  take 
charge  of  such  remittances.     Such  persons  are  designated 
Seu  Pe'Ke,  and  come  from  all  the  different  places  of 
any  importance  from  which  emigrants  are  in  the  habit 
of  repairing  to  the  Straits.     The  remitter  entrusts  his 
money  to  the  agent  from  his  own  part  of  the  country, 
who  for  his  trouble  either  receives  a  commission  of  lo 
per  cent.,  if  the  money  is  to  be  carried  in  specie,  or  is 
allowed  to  invest  it  in  goods,  the  profit  or  loss  on  which 
is  his,  as  he  must  pay  over  in  China  the  exact  sum  that 
has  been  delivered  to  him.     These  persons  frequently 
for  years   exclusivel}^  pursue   this   business  :     not   the 
least    remarkable  of  the  thousand-and-one  modes   by 
which  the  ingenuity  of  the  Chinese  in  making  money 
develops  itself,    until  they  have    realised  sufficient  to 
enable  them  to  embark  in  more  extensive  pursuits. 

"  Remittances  are  made  by  all  classes  of  the  immi- 
grants. While  the  merchant  sends  his  hundreds  of 
dollars,  the  poor  coolie  sends  his  units  or  tens.  The 
amount  remitted  each  year  varies  considerably,  being 
dependent  on  many  circumstances,  such  as  the  general 
state  of  trade  or  the  particular  fortune  of  individuals. 
In  some  years  the  aggregate  amount  reaches  as  high  as 
perhaps  70,000  Spanish  dollars,  while  in  other  years  it 
may  fall  as  low  as  30,000  or  40,000  dollars.  In  the  season 
which  has  just  ended  the  remittances  were  very  small 
in  amount,  owing,  in  the  case  of  merchants  and  traders, 
to  the  unprofitable  state  of  trade  for  some  time  past,  and 
in  the  case  of  agricultural  coolies,  to  the  inadequate 
price  which  gambler  has  for  months  commanded,  and 


which  has  seriously  affected  their  wages,  the  amount  of 
which  is  dependent  on  the  price  of  the  product. 

"  Many  of  these  cooHes,  being  unable  to  write,  are 
obliged  to  have  recourse  either  to  an  acquaintance, 
if  they  are  so  fortunate  to  possess  one  having  a  tincture 
of  letters,  or  to  one  of  the  public  letter-writers,  whose 
stalls,  like  those  of  similar  professions  in  many  cities  of 
Continental  Europe,  are  to  be  found  in  the  streets,  with 
their  owners  ready  to  be  the  instruments  of  communi- 
cation for  those  who  cannot  write  themselves.  The 
Chinese  letter-writer's  stall  is  a  very  simple  affair, 
consisting  in  general  of  a  small  rude  table,  a  little  bundle 
of  paper,  a  brush,  some  Chinese  ink,  and  a  stool  on  which 
the  operator  sits.  These  stalls  are  usually  placed  at  the 
side  of  the  street,  and  sometimes  in  the  public  verandahs  ; 
while,  in  the  outskirts  of  the  town,  they  may  be  found 
established  under  trees,  or  in  the  shadow  of  walls.  The 
person  who  wishes  to  send  the  letter  stands,  or  squats 
himself  upon  his  hams,  beside  the  writer,  and  states  what 
he  wants  to  have  written,  and  the  letter,  being  finished, 
is  delivered  to  him,  while  he  rewards  the  writer  with  three 
to  six  cents,  according  to  circumstances.  On  the 
occasion  of  the  departure  of  two  or  three  large  junks,  not 
only  are  the  whole  of  the  professed  letter-writers  in  full 
operation,  but  many  coolies  take  up  the  trade  for  the 
time  being,  and  assist  in  supplying  the  large  demands, 
so  that  sometimes  in  passing  along  the  streets  in  the 
morning  we  may  count  as  many  as  from  forty  to  fifty 
stalls.  These  occasional  letter-writers  do  not  expend 
much  on  their  outfit.  An  old  packing-case  or  a  deal 
board  frequently  supplies  a  table  sufficient  for  their 
purpose  "  (Logan's  Journal,  vol.  i,  1847). 

The  collection,  conveyance,  and  distribution  of  Chinese 
correspondence  to  and  from  the  Straits — and  also  of  so- 
called  "  Chinese  Money  Orders  "  or  "  Chinese  Letter 
Remittances  " — came  to  be  monopolised  by  a  few 
Chinese  merchants,  and  in  1 873  attention  was  being  given 
to  the  want  felt  by  the  Chinese  labouring  class  of  a  cheap 
and  safe  means  of  forwarding  letters  and  making  small 
remittances  to  their  friends  in  the  interior  of  China. 
Considerable  correspondence  took  place  with  the  Im- 
II — 10 


perial  Authorities,  the  British  Minister  at  Pekin,  the 
Consuls  in  China,  and  the  Hongkong  Authorities,  and 
ultimately  it  was  arranged  to  open  a  "  Chinese  Post 
Office"  at  8 1  Market  Street,  Singapore,  on  the  15th 
December  1876,  the  Gazette  notice  being  dated  the  5th 
December.  It  was  made  compulsory  for  all  letters  to 
be  sent  through  the  post.  The  system  was  explained 
more  clearly  in  the  Postmaster-General's  (Mr.  H.  Trotter) 
second  notification  : 

"  By  British  Imperial  appointment,  the  Postmaster- 
General  of  Singapore,  Pulo  Penang,  and  Malacca. 

,    '*  Notification 

"  I.  This  notice  informs  all  you  descriptions  of  people 
plainly  that  on  the  1 5th  of  the  present  month,  December, 
i.e.  Chinese  loth  moon,  30th  day,  small  Post  Offices  will 
be  opened  at  81  Market  Street,  Singapore,  and  52  Beach 
Street,  Pulo  Penang  :  this  is  for  the  benefit  especially 
of  all  you  coolies  ;  any  labouring  man  who  wishes  to 
send  letters  to  China,  let  him  come  forward  and  entrust 
them  to  these  small  Post  Offices,  and  these  same  letters 
will  be  forwarded  to  friends  or  relations  in  any  town, 
village,  or  hamlet  of  the  interior. 

"2.  These  small  Post  Offices  will  receive  the  letters, 
which  will  be  sent  at  once  by  the  Postmaster-General  to 
Swatow  or  Amoy,  and  from  those  two  places  they  will 
be  forwarded  to  and  delivered  at  each  village  or  town. 
Answers  also  will  be  collected  and  returned  through 
Swatow  and  Amoy  to  Singapore  and  the  different  places 
in  the  Straits  Settlements. 

"3.  These  transmitting  arrangements  will  be  really 
beneficial  and  advantageous  ;  when  they  are  in  good 
working  order,  all  men  must  forward  their  letters  through 
the  Government  Post  Office. 

"  The  Government  has  also  given  permission  for  the 
Postmasters  of  the  small  offices  to  carry  on  a  money 
letter  business,  at  a  fixed  scale  of  charges  ;  they  will 
not  be  allowed  to  receive  for  their  benefit  a  cash  or  hair 
more  than  the  scale  which  is  set  out  for  general  infor- 
mation : 


For  Money  Order  (letter)  value  $  I,  fixed  rate.  .         .         .       lo  cents 

$2,     „      „      per  I         .         .        lo    „ 

$3.     „       „      per  $         .  .  8    „ 

H     »       ..      per  $         .  .         6    „ 

„         "         $5,  and  above,  fixed  rate  per  $        5    „ 

Above  $ioo,  a  lower  rate  will  be  charged  according  to  private  arrangement. 

For  Money  Orders  to  Swatow  and  Taychew  the  old  rates  will  be  charged. 

English  year  1876,  December  nth. 

Chinese  Piah-tsu  year,  loth  moon,  26th  day. 

Notice  for  general  information." 

This  scheme  would  break  the  monopoly  which  the 
former  Chinese  letter  collectors  had  built  up,  and  they 
maliciously  misinterpreted  the  notification  and  issued 
the  following  placard  : 

"  We  know  that  since  the  English  Barbarians  estab- 
lished themselves  in  Singapore  their  rules  have  for  a 
long  time  been  very  beneficial  to  the  people,  not  like 
some  of  our  Chinese,  one  or  two  of  whom  are  *  red  rats,' 
degenerate  fellows  of  a  completely  oppressive  nature, 
reckless  without  any  regard  to  the  right.  Their  only 
rule  is  making  money  ;  they  boldly  intrigued  and  worked 
on  the  prince  of  Singapore  and  secretly  with  cunning 
formed  a  conspiracy  to  farm  the  Post  Office  monopoly. 
This  truly  is  a  course  that  will  prevent  us  from  having 
any  good  fortune.  This  will  injure  and  destroy  the 
living  of  the  people,  and  produce  misery  beyond 
description.  Alas  for  our  coolies,  with  their  toil,  labour, 
and  miserable  condition  !  If,  after  toiling  with  their 
hands  or  bearing  heavy  burdens,  they  have  saved  a 
dollar  or  two,  which  they  wish  to  send  to  their  family 
halls  to  assist  in  providing  fire  and  water,  they  cannot 
get  enough  to  fill  the  mouth,  how  much  less  can  they  hope 
to  be  able  to  fill  the  caverns  of  this  vicious  and  insatiable 
lust  for  gain  !  The  classics  say,  *  Those  who  invented 
wooden  images,  surely  it  was  because  they  had  no 

"  Now  we  must  clearly  awake  to  this  vicious  and 
delusive  system,  so  as  to  clear  ourselves  from  a  guilt 
which  cannot  be  prayed  for.  As  for  you  who  wish 
to  establish  this  Post  Office,  may  your  wife  and 
daughter,  dressed  in  their  finery,  be  placed  at  the  door 
for  men  to  buy  and  deride,  and  for  the  use  of  every 
lustful  person.     If  not  this,  then  let  them  die  at  once. 


"  Now,  after  reading  this  paper,  any  one  not  feeling 
his  fierce  passions  arise  has  not  the  principles  of  a  man  ; 
and  if  the  man  who  wished  to  assist  in  the  business 
does  not  now  change  his  intention  and  try  to  stop  it, 
he  is  no  man. 

"  All  people  reading  this  must  reverently  feel  grieved 
and  fiercely  determined,  and  then  it  will  be  well. 

"  Piah-tsu,    loth  moon,   28th  day  (13th  December). 

"  If  any  honest  virtuous  man  will  cut  off  the  heads 
of  the  Post  Office  Farmers,  he  will  be  rewarded  with 
taels  100." 

Other  notices  in  an  equally  inciting  tone  were  pla- 
carded, and  notwithstanding  the  precautions  taken,  a 
serious  riot  took  place  on  the  morning  of  the  opening 
of  the  Chinese  Post  Office.  The  new  Post  Office  was 
wrecked,  the  Royal  Arms  pulled  down  and  broken,  the 
police  were  attacked.  Several  Chinese  were  killed,  and 
Mr.  R.  W.  Maxwell,  the  Superintendent  of  Pohce, 
was  stoned,  knocked  down,  and  beaten.  The  riot  was 
quelled,  however,  and  in  the  course  of  the  afternoon  a 
detachment  of  the  80th  Regiment  took  the  Chinese 
Towkays,  who  had  formerly  carried  on  the  letter  and 
remittance  business,  and  placed  them  on  board  the 
Pluto,  three  miles  out  in  the  harbour.  On  Monday 
morning,  the  i8th  December,  the  Sub-Post  Office  was 
reopened  in  person  by  Mr.  Trotter  (Postmaster-General), 
the  Colonial  Secretary  and  other  gentlemen  being 

In  1877  the  Chinese  Sub-Post  Office  was  removed  from 
Market  Street  to  the  General  Post  Office,  with  favour- 
able results.  The  Sub-Postmaster  came  directly  under 
the  control  and  supervision  of  the  Postmaster-General ; 
the  Chinese,  for  whom  the  office  was  established,  were 
gaining  confidence,  and  in  1878  the  postage  collected 
by  this  branch  was  $4,069.  The  number  of  Chinese 
letters  despatched  through  the  sub-office  in  1880  was 
estimated  at  80,000,  in  1881  at  77,000,  in  1882  at  90,876. 
By  1886  the  number  had  risen  to  180,000,  and  by  1889 
to  280,000. 


Previous  to  1887  only  offices  for  the  transmission 
of  Teow-Chew  and  Hokkien  letters  existed,  but  in  this 
year  offices  for  Cantonese,  Cheow-Wan,  and  Kheh 
letters  were  established.  The  number  of  such  offices 
open  in  1887  in  Singapore  was  49,  of  which  34  were 
Teow-Chew,  1 1  Hokkien,  i  Cantonese,  i  Cheow-Wan, 
and  2  Kheh.  In  June  1888  the  postage  on  these  coolie 
letters  contained  in  clubbed  packets  was  reduced  from 
six  cents  to  three  cents  a  letter.  From  1 890  the  clubbed 
packets  containing  coolie  letters  bore  postage  stamps 
instead  of  being  paid  for  in  cash. 

In  Singapore,  in  1891,  there  were  forty-nine  Chinese 
letter-shops  and  sixteen  itinerant  collectors,  and  the 
procedure  was  explained  :  "  The  shops  have  their 
branches  in  China.  The  collector  goes  round  the 
country  districts  in  the  Straits  collecting  letters  and 
small  sums  of  money  from  coolies.  He  makes  the 
letters  into  a  bundle  addressed  to  himself  at  a  Treaty 
Port  and  posts  it,  buys  a  bank- draft,  and  proceeds  to 
China.  On  arrival  he  claims  the  packet  of  letters  and 
the  money,  and  starts  on  his  errand  of  distribution.  He 
obtains  an  acknowledgment  of  each  payment,  and 
hands  it,  on  his  return  to  this  Colony,  to  the  remitter. 
A  collector  generally  makes  three  or  four  round  trips 
a  year,  and  is  rewarded  with  a  commission  of  about 
3  per  cent,  on  the  amount  entrusted  to  him.  The 
charges  made  by  the  shops  are  cheaper,  and  at  present 
a  war  of  rates  is  going  on,  which  I  fear  may  end  disas- 
trously for  some  of  the  remitters,  as  well  as  for  the 
shops.  Since  the  private  Chinese  post  offices  in  the 
Straits  were  brought  under  departmental  control, 
several  have  closed,  many  new  ones  have  been  established, 
and  two  have  failed,  one  in   1890  and  one  in   1891." 

In  1904  a  letter-smugghng  society,  formed  by  a  number 
of  Hailam  servants,  several  of  whom  were  in  the  service 
of  leading  European  residents,  was  discovered  and  nipped 
in  the  bud,  not,  however,  before  some  of  these  law- 
breakers   had    endeavoured    to    get    their    masters    to 


champion  their  cause.  Two  letter-shops  failed  in  1907 
owing  to  gambling  in  exchange,  and  remitters  lost 
considerable  sums  of  money  which  they  had  entrusted 
to  the  shops  for  delivery  to  their  relatives  in  China. 
In  this  year,  also,  Mr.  Ho  Yang  Peng,  who  had  been 
Sub-Postmaster  in  charge  of  the  Chinese  Sub-Post  Office 
since  1886,  retired.  In  1914  the  number  of  coolie 
letters  in  clubbed  packets  exceeded  a  million,  and  was 
still  over  a  million  in  191 7,  though  the  exchange  on 
China  being  so  high  recently  the  remittances  from  the 
Straits  have  been  much  restricted. 

A  Chinese  translation  of  the  Singapore  Postal  Express 
has  been  issued  since  May  1895. 

Money  Orders 

We  are  so  accustomed  to  the  money  order  system  now- 
a-days  that  it  occurs  to  few  people  that  it  was  first 
devised  as  a  means  of  checking  the  theft  of  letters 
containing  money  sent -by  post.  It  was  an  old  institu- 
tion taken  over  by  the  British  Post  Office  in  1838. 
The  first  money  order  service  in  the  Straits  was  with 
the  United  Kingdom,  and  started  in  1871.  A  local 
money  order  service  was  introduced  in  May  1871  ; 
the  service  with  Hongkong,  China,  and  Japan  in 
September  1878.  The  exchange  which  at  once  resulted 
in  more  business  than  all  the  others  put  together  was 
that  with  India,  commencing  on  the  ist  January  1882. 
In  November  of  the  same  year  a  service  with  the  Native 
States  was  started  ;  with  Ceylon  on  the  i  st  January  1883; 
and  with  the  Austrahan  Colonies,  Labuan,  and  North 
Borneo  in  1885.  From  the  15th  January  1885  arrange- 
ments were  made  for  the  use  of  the  United  Kingdom  as 
intermediary  for  the  transmission  of  money  orders  to  a 
great  many  countries  with  which  the  United  Kingdom 
had  exchanges.  France  was  the  only  important  country 
on  which  orders  could  not  be  issued  in  the  Straits.  In 
this  year,  also,  the  Singapore  office  became  intermediary 
for  the  exchange  of  Indian  orders  with  various  Native 
States.     The  introduction  of  British  postal  orders  in 


1885  relieved  the  money  order  business  of  many  of  the 
smaller  remittances,  and  thus  of  a  considerable  amount 
of  that  part  of  the  business  which  was  unprofitable. 

Siam  and  Sarawak  entered  into  agreements  for  the 
exchange  of  money  orders  with  the  Straits  in  1888  ; 
Pahang  and  Bandar  Maharani  (in  Muar,  Johore)  in 
1889  ;    Jelebu  on  the  ist  November  1891. 

The  report  for  1893  stated  : 

"  The  silver  crisis,  which  was  precipitated  by  the 
amendment  of  the  currency  laws  and  the  closing  of  the 
mints  in  India  in  June,  had  a  paralysing  effect  on  the 
business  of  the  money  order  branch  during  the  second 
half  of  the  year  under  review,  whilst  in  the  settlement 
of  the  accounts  for  the  first  two  quarters  it  resulted  in 
a  loss,  in  consequence  of  the  fall  of  exchange,  of  $36,185, 
of  which  sum  $17,750  is  recoverable  from  the  Native 
States.  The  service  with  India  and  Ceylon  was  sus- 
pended from  the  13th  July  to  the  31st  August,  and  the 
arrangement  with  India  has  since  been  amended  with 
a  view  to  guard  against  the  occurrence  of  a  loss  in 

In  1908  the  Straits  Post  Office  ceased  to  be  the  inter- 
mediary for  the  Federated  Malay  States  money  order 
business  with  India,  Ceylon,  and  China,  separate  agree- 
ments having  been  made  between  those  countries. 

After  fixing  of  the  exchange  on  a  gold  basis  early 
in  1906,  money  order  business  was  much  simplified. 
From  ist  March  1906  money  orders  and  postal  orders 
expressed  in  sterling  were  issued  and  cashed  at  the 
fixed  rate  of  2s.  4J.  to  the  dollar,  and  orders  expressed 
in  rupees  at  Rs.175  =  $100.  By  an  arrangement  with 
the  Hongkong  Post  Office,  a  *'  Bearer  Money  Order  " 
system  was  introduced  on  the  ist  December  1907, 
to  obviate  the  alleged  difficulties  experienced  by  Chinese, 
owing  to  the  diminished  bullion  value  of  the  new  Straits 
dollar,  in  taking  their  savings  back  without  loss  to 
China.  These  orders  were,  to  meet  the  convenience 
of  ilhterate  coolies,  made  payable  to  bearer,  without 


any  payee's  signature  and  without  any  question  being 
raised  as  to  identification.  The  demand  for  these 
orders  has  been  small,  proving  either  that  the  Chinese 
prefer  the  ways  they  are  used  to  or  that  the  complaints 
as  to  difficulties  experienced  were  greatly  exaggerated. 
The  latter  is  the  more  probable,  as  Straits  notes  are 
easily  negotiable  in  Hongkong  and  the  Treaty  Ports. 

A  money  order  exchange  with  Kelantan  commenced 
on  the  ist  October  1907.  This  exchange  showed  a  great 
increase  in  1908,  owing  to  the  demonetisation  of  the 
old  dollar  on  31st  December  1908,  involving  heavy 
remittances  from  Kelantan.  This  service  was  very 
extensively  used,  as  there  was  no  bank  in  the  State. 
The  opening  of  a  bank  agency  in  191 2,  however,  was 
responsible  for  a  sudden  big  drop  in  the  money  order 
business,  which  nevertheless  continues  to  be  consider- 
able. The  same  happened  to  the  Malacca  money  order 
business  when  a  bank  opened  there  in  1883. 

A  telegraph  money  order  service  was  introduced  in 
1 910  for  inland  money  orders  and  for  those  exchanged 
with  the  Federated  Malay  States.  This  service  has 
grown  very  rapidly.  A  similar  telegraphic  system 
with  the  United  Kingdom  operated  from  the  ist 
September  191 6,  and  has  proved  quite  useful. 

Exchanges  were  established  with  Kedah  in  19 10; 
with  the  Netherlands  East  Indies  on  the  15th  April  191 1. 
The  exchange  with  the  Netherlands  East  Indies  had 
been  thought  of  since  the  'Eighties,  but  no  agreement 
had  been  come  to,  chiefly  on  account  of  Netherlands 
East  India  having  the  International  Union  system, 
while  the  Straits  already  had  several  other  different 
systems  with  various  countries.  The  service  is  on  the 
Union  system,  and  is  very  simple,  and  has  proved  its 
value  by  the  extensive  use  made  of  it. 

The  commission  on  money  orders  was  paid  in  cash 
at  first,  and  in  stamps  from  1888,  the  original  cash 
method  being  reverted  to  from  the  ist  April  1895.  The 
rate  of  commission  was  from  2  per  cent,  to  i  per  cent, 
from  the  ist  August  1883,  and  the  reduction  causing  a 


much  more  extensive  use  of  the  system,  the  year  1884 
showing  a  big  increase.  The  commission  on  inland 
money  orders  and  on  those  exchanged  with  the  Federated 
Malay  States,  Kedah,  Johore,  and  Brunei  was  reduced 
from  I  per  cent,  to  |  per  cent,  in  19 10,  and  the  next 
year,  191 1,  saw  a  reduction  from  ij  per  cent,  to  i  per 
cent,  in  commission  on  orders  drawn  on  the  United 
Kingdom,  India,  Ceylon,  Australia,  Hongkong,  and  New 
Zealand — on  Coronation  Day. 

The  business  in  191 7  was  phenomenal,  and  the  Post- 
master-General's report  for  that  year  has  the  following 
reference  : 

**  The  total  money  order  and  postal  order  transactions 
amounted  to  $14,760,563.18,  as  against  $4,812,003.35 
in  1 9 16,  an  increase  of  $9,948,559.83.  This  very  heavy 
increase  is  entirely  due  to  the  fall  in  the  bank  rate  with 
India.  The  rate  at  which  the  Post  Office  issued  orders 
on  India  was  at  a  fixed  rate  of  Rs.175  =  $100.  As 
the  bank  rate  was  more  favourable  than  this,  and  was 
steadily  decreasing,  there  was  a  large  run  on  the  Money 
Order  Office,  and  the  Post  Office  was  soon  taking  up  most 
of  the  exchange  business  with  India.  The  takings  in 
Singapore  at  one  time  reached  over  two  million  dollars 
per  month,  and  a  considerable  extra  temporary  staff 
was  taken  on.  Representations  were  made  to  Govern- 
ment, as  it  was  evident  the  system  was  being  abused 
and  made  use  of  for  speculative  purposes.  On  the  i6th 
August  191 7  the  rate  of  issue  on  India  was  fixed  at 
Rs.165  =  $100,  and  other  steps  were  taken  to  eliminate 
the  speculator,  and  although  this  was  a  better  rate  than 
the  banks  nominally  offered,  still  the  business  was 
kept  to  a  fairly  low  level.  As  regards  Ceylon,  also  a 
rupee  country,  on  the  3rd  September  1917a  Gazette  Extra- 
ordinary was  issued  limiting  the  amount  that  could  be 
sent  by  any  one  remitter  to  any  one  payee  to  Rs.150, 
and  on  the  ist  October  191 7  further  restrictions  were 
imposed  by  fixing  the  rate  of  issue  at  Rs.i6o  =  $100. 
As  a  result  of  the  fall  in  the  rate  of  exchange,  there 
was  a  large  demand  for  British  postal  orders,  which 
were  as  good  as  Rs.175  to  the  $100  so  long  as  they 
could    be    exchanged    in    India    and    Ceylon   at  Rs.15 


to  the  £.     Steps  were  taken  to  curtail  the  abuse  of 

British  Postal  Orders 

Postal  orders  were  first  issued  in  the  United  Kingdom 
on  the  ist  January  1881.  The  introduction  of  British 
postal  orders  to  the  Straits  in  August  1885  is  thus 
referred  to  in  the  Postmaster-General's  report  : 

"  The  appreciation  with  which  the  introduction  of 
postal  notes  was  received  in  the  United  Kingdom 
induced  this  Department  to  apply  to  Her  Majesty's 
Postmaster-General  for  authority  to  extend  the  advan- 
tages of  the  Imperial  postal  note  system  to  the  Straits 
Settlements.  The  issue  of  what  ma}^  be  termed"  Govern- 
ment Circular  Notes  "  for  sums  of  is.,  15.  6d.,  2s.,  5s., 
105.,  and  205.  commenced  on  the  15th  August  last, 
and  from  that  date  to  the  end  of  the  year  937  notes 
for  an  aggregate  sum  of  £6og  los.  6d.  were  issued  in 
the  Straits  Settlements.  Such  notes  were  payable  in 
the  United  Kingdom,  Gibraltar,  and  at  the  British  Post 
Office  at  Constantinople." 

In  October  1904  arrangements  were  brought  into 
operation  for  cashing  British  postal  orders  in  the  Straits, 
and  at  about  the  same  time  the  system  was  extended 
to  various  other  parts  of  the  Empire  which  had  not 
previously  taken  advantage  of  it.  The  Federated  Malay 
States  began  to  purchase  their  orders  direct  from 
London  in  July  1906,  instead  of  from  Singapore.  In 
1909,  from  the  ist  January,  numerous  additional  de- 
nominations were  introduced  from  6d.  up  to  215.,  chiefly 
in  connection  with  the  cash  on  delivery  service,  but 
many  of  the  unpopular  denominations  were  abolished 
in  1916.  British  postal  orders  are  on  sale  at  all  post 
offices  in  the  Colony.  The  affixing  to  the  orders  of 
English  postage  stamps  to  make  up  broken  amounts 
was  permitted  from  the  start,  and  in  191 7  it  was  made 
permissible  for  Straits  stamps  to  be  affixed.  At  the 
outbreak  of  war  in  19 14  British  postal  orders  were  made 
British  currency  temporarily. 


Local  Postal  Orders 

Local  postal  orders,  or  postal  notes  as  they  were 
originally  designated,  were  introduced  in  1885  for 
sums  in  dollars,  from  $1  up  to  $5  each.  They  were 
obtainable  and  payable  at  any  money  order  office  in 
the  Colony,  and  at  the  sub-post  offices  in  Province 
Wellesley  and  at  Balik  Pulau,  to  which  sub-offices  it 
had  not  been  practicable  to  extend  the  money  order 
system.  They  could  also  be  cashed  by  the  post  offices 
in  Perak,  Selangor,  Sungei  Ujong,  and  Johore.  The 
Post  Office  Report  for  1885  referred  to  these  "  notes  " 
as  follows  : 

"  While  the  new  form  affords  additional  facilities  for 
the  transmission  of  small  sums  at  a  reduced  cost  to  the 
public,  money  orders  and  postal  orders  have  each  their 
own  advantages.  The  postal  note  is  more  quickly  and 
easily  obtained.  It  is  payable  at  any  post  office,  and 
with  less  formality  than  a  money  order  ;  and  some 
saving  of  work  to  the  post  office  is  effected.  On  the 
other  hand,  postal  notes  are  for  fixed  sums,  and  the 
maximum  amount  of  a  single  note  is  only  one-tenth  of 
that  for  which  a  money  order  can  be  obtained.  A 
postal  note  is  lost  beyond  remedy,  whereas  if  a  money 
order  is  lost  the  amount  generally  remains  safe." 

Later  they  were  issued  and  paid  at  all  sub-post  offices, 
but  the  issue  of  $5  and  $1  currency  notes  by  the  Govern- 
ment did  away  with  the  demand  for  local  postal  orders, 
and  they  were  so  little  used  that  they  were  abolished 
in  1916. 

The  Government  Savings  Bank 

According  to  Buckley  a  Government  Savings  Bank 
was  estabhshed  in  Calcutta  in  1833,  and  it  was  proposed 
to  open  one  in  Singapore,  but  nothing  came  of  the 
proposal.  A  savings  bank  had  already  been  established 
in  Penang  by  the  Recorder,  Sir  Benjamin  Malkin,  who 
had  been  one  of  the  active  managers  of  the  Marylebone 
Savings  Bank  in  London,  and  he  had  drawn  up  rules, 


called  a  public  meeting,  and  set  the  bank  going.  The 
suggestion  was  brought  up  again  in  1846,  but  nothing 
was  done.  As  early  as  1793  there  had  been  a  savings 
bank  in  Penang,  but  it  was  not  until  1872  that  the 
matter  was  taken  up  seriously.  In  that  year  His  Excel- 
lency appointed  a  Committee,  of  which  the  Postmaster- 
General  was  one,  to  report  on  the  project  of  estab- 
lishing a  savings  bank  in  the  Singapore  Post  Office. 
From  1874  to  1876  the  project  was  still  under  discussion, 
but  during  the  latter  year  an  Ordinance  was  passed  and 
arrangements  were  made  to  open  the  Singapore  Savings 
Bank  at  the  beginning  of  1877.  The  Post  Office  Report 
for  1877  states  : 

"  The  Post  Office  Savings  Bank  was  opened  in 
January  1877,  with  a  view  to  encourage  those  in  receipt 
of  small  incomes  to  practise  economy  by  affording  them 
a  safe  investment  for  small  amounts  at  a  fair  rate  of 
interest,  and  also  of  affording  borrowers  opportunities  of 
obtaining  loans  at  lower  rates  of  interest  than  are  pro- 
curable from  other  sources,  and  so  long  as  the  arrange- 
ments made  by  Government  continued  in  force  the  bank 
promised  to  become  a  very  useful  institution,  and  one 
calculated  to  do  a  great  deal  of  good  in  these  Settle- 
ments, and  I  regret  that  circumstances  arose  "which 
necessitated  loans  being  temporarily  refused.  The 
office  has  been  opened  two  days  a  week  since  July,  and 
the  number  of  depositors  on  the  30th  November  was 
211,  and  the  amount  deposited  $19,864.90,  a  state  of 
affairs  which  may  be  viewed  with  satisfaction  con- 
sidering the  short  time  the  bank  has  been  in  existence." 

The  1878  report  showed  satisfactory  progress,  adding  : 

"  The  publication  of  the  correspondence  which  had 
taken  place  between  the  Secretary  of  State  and  the 
Governor  on  the  subject  of  the  management  of  this 
institution  created  somewhat  of  a  scare  at  the  time, 
and  threatened  to  cause  a  run  on  the  bank  ;  but  when 
it  was  found  that  action  on  the  part  of  the  Imperial 
authorities  was  with  the  view  to  ensure  the  safe  invest- 
ment of  the  funds  of  the  bank,  and  not  to  interfere  un- 


necessarily  in  its  management,  a  feeling  of  confidence 
gradually  returned." 

Under  the  1876  Ordinance  arrangements  had  been 
made  for  loans  to  be  made  to  depositors  against  satis- 
factory security,  and  in  order  to  stop  this  and  to  arrange 
for  safer  investment  of  the  bank's  funds  the  Secretary 
of  State  instructed  that  the  1876  Ordinance  be  cancelled. 
The  Ordinance  of  1879  was  the  result,  and  remained  the 
main  Savings  Bank  Ordinance  until  1907.  In  1880  the 
direction  of  the  Savings  Bank  was  transferred  from  the 
Postmaster-General  to  the  Treasurer,  but  the  business 
was  carried  on,  as  before,  at  the  Post  Office,  Mr.  Noel 
Trotter  continuing  to  be  Secretary  to  the  bank.  The 
management  of  the  bank  reverted  to  the  Postmaster- 
General  on  the  ist  July  1889.  It  is  curious  to  observe 
that  in  1889  the  depositors  consisted  of  307  Europeans, 
203  Eurasians,  43  Chinese,  20  Malays,  "j^  Klings,  20 
Sikhs,  9  other  natives  ;  total  678.  The  bank's  invest- 
ments in  1877-8  included  mortgages  ;  and  hereafter 
consisted  entirely  of  fixed  deposits  until  1889,  when 
they  were  all  in  municipal  debentures.  In  1891  they 
consisted  of  fixed  deposits,  municipal  debentures,  and 
Indian  Government  securities,  an  Ordinance  having 
been  passed  in  February  1891  to  enable  the  funds  to  be 
invested  in  Indian  Government  securities.  In  1898,  on 
the  Secretary  of  State's  instructions,  part  of  the  Savings 
Bank  funds  had  to  be  remitted  to  the  United  Kingdom 
for  gold  investments,  with  the  result  that  they  appeared 
as  part  of  the  assets  in  1899.  At  the  time  of  writing 
the  investments  also  include  Straits  Settlements  War 
Loan  Bonds.  The  year  191 5  was  the  first  in  which  the 
bank  showed  a  debit  balance,  due  to  the  depreciation  of 
securities  on  the  outbreak  of  war. 

The  1879  Ordinance  was  repealed  in  1907,  when  the 
Ordinance  now  in  force  was  enacted.  The  new  law 
provided  for  the  establishment  of  sub-savings  banks  ; 
the  disposal  of  the  deposits  of  intestates,  infants,  and 
lunatics  ;    the   transfer  of  depositors'  accounts  to  and 


from  other  British  countries.  Most  of  the  sub-post 
offices  in  the  Colony  are  now  sub-savings  banks .  Arrange- 
ments for  the  reciprocal  transfer  of  accounts  have  been 
made  with  the  United  Kingdom,  the  Federated  Malay 
States,  and  India. 

In  1877  the  rate  of  interest  paid  to  depositors  was 
5  per  cent.  ;  it  was  4  per  cent,  from  July  1880  to  April 
1883  ;  then  5  per  cent,  till  September  1889  ;  4  per  cent. 
up  to  September  1891  ;  3I  per  cent,  to  June  1895  ;  and 
3  per  cent,  ever  since. 

Separate  annual  reports  on  the  Savings  Bank  were 
published  for  the  years  1882  to  1901,  after  which  they 
were  included  in  the  Post  and  Telegraph  Department 
annual  reports. 


The  annual  report  on  the  Administration  of  the  Straits 
Settlements  1859-60  had  the  following  reference  to  the 


*'  Although  not  actually  connected  with  the  proceed- 
ings of  the  Straits  Government,  the  laying  down  the 
electric  telegraph  cable  from  Singapore  to  Batavia,  the 
first  link  between  India  and  Australia,  is  a  fact  of  too 
much  importance  to  be  permitted  to  pass  unrecorded. 
The  junction  between  the  two  places  was  effected  on 
the  24th  November  last,  and  for  some  time  the  tele- 
graph worked  most  successfully  ;  latterly,  however, 
there  have  been,  unfortunately,  frequent  interruptions 
of  communication,  owing  to  the  cable  having  been 
dragged  by  the  anchors  of  vessels  anchoring  in  the 
narrow  Straits  in  its  line  of  passage.  The  Netherlands 
Government  has  liberally  conceded  to  the  Governor  of 
the  Straits  Settlements  and  to  British  Consuls  the  same 
privileges  with  regard  to  the  despatch  of  telegraphic 
messages  as  enjoyed  by  its  own  high  officers  of  State." 

The  Dutch  telegraph  office  here  referred  to  was  pur- 
chased from  the  Netherlands  Government  by  the  Straits 
in  1864.     Buckley's  reference  to  this  is  : 


"  The  beginning  of  submarine  telegraph  hnes  from 
Singapore  was  very  unfortunate.  In  May  the  Dutch 
Government  determined  to  lay  a  cable  to  Batavia,  and 
obtained  leave  to  lay  it  from  Singapore.  The  line  was 
completed  on  the  24th  November,  and  the  merchants 
in  Singapore  sent  a  congratulatory  message,  to  which 
the  Batavia  merchants  repUed.  The  second  message 
was  from  the  Governor-General  of  Netherlands  India  to 
Governor  Cavenagh,  to  which  the  latter  replied.  Then 
it  snapped  !  A  ship's  anchor  was  thought  to  have 
broken  the  cable.  It  was  repaired,  but  only  remained 
a  short  time  in  operation,  and  after  having  been  once  or 
twice  more  repaired,  it  remained  obstinately  mute,  and 
on  examination  was  found  so  much  injured,  and  in  so 
many  places,  that  the  attempt  to  repair  it  was  aban- 
doned. An  office,  a  two-storied  building,  had  been 
erected  on  the  left  bank  of  the  river,  about  where  the 
back  of  the  Government  Offices  is  now,  and  was  used 
afterwards  as  the  Master- Attendant's  office." 

The  following  early  references  to  telegraphs  in  Singa- 
pore are  interesting,  taken  from  the  Singapore  Review 
and  Monthly  Magazine j  1 861-2  : 

"  The  telegraph  between  Singapore  and  Batavia,  like 
many  other  submarine  electric  cables,  has,  after  working 
a  short  time,  proved  a  failure,  and  a  new  line  must  be 
laid  before  further  communication  can  be  established. 
The  telegraph  cable  to  be  laid  between  Singapore  and 
Rangoon  has  been  found  to  be  damaged  by  a  new  diffi- 
culty, overheating,  and  is  still  detained  in  England. 
From  the  great  uncertainties  and  difficulties  attending 
submarine  cables  it  is  now  proposed  to  construct  the 
line  overland.  The  importance  of  telegraphic  com- 
munication with  Singapore,  more  especially  since  the 
late  troubles  in  China,  is  daily  becoming  more  evident, 
and  the  failure  of  the  submarine  cable  laid  between  that 
island  and  Java,  more  than  twelve  months  since,  having 
shown  that  no  dependence  can  be  placed  upon  such 
means  of  communication,  it  is  suggested  that  a  more 
simple  and  less  expensive  telegraph  might  be  carried 
overland  from  Singapore  to  Rangoon,  the  latter  being 
already  in  communication  with  India.  The  chiefs  of 
the  intervening  countries,  being  in  friendly  relations  with 


the  British  Government,  would  be  found  ready  to  give 
every  assistance  in  the  construction  and  protection  of 
the  Hne,  were  the  Governor  of  the  Straits  and  the  chief 
British  authority  at  Rangoon  authorised  to  treat  with 
them  on  the  subject.  This  would  also  be  a  means  of 
opening  up  those  countries  to  commerce  generally,  as 
well  as  conducive  to  the  welfare  and  civilisation  of  the 
inhabitants.  It  is  understood  that  the  King  of  Siam 
has  signified  his  wish  for  an  extension  of  telegraph  com- 
munication with  Singapore,  and  connecting  this  with 
the  French  occupation  of  Saigon  in  Cochin-China,  there 
would  be  little  difficulty  in  continuing  the  line  to  China 
should  such  be  considered  advisable." 

At  that  time  the  Indian  Act  VIII  of  i860,  regulating 
the  establishment  and  management  of  the  electric  tele- 
graph, was  in  force  here. 

In  the  1867  Directory  the  following  interesting  notice 
appears  : 

Eastern  Asia  Telegraph  Co.,  Ltd. 

(To  be  registered  under  the  Indian  Companies  Act  1866) 
Capital  ;^ 1 50,000,  in  shares  oi  £10  each,  with  power  to 


Provisional  Directors 

W.  Paterson,  of  Paterson,  Simons  &  Co.,  Singapore. 

W.  H.  Read,  of  A.  L.  Johnston  &  Co.,  Singapore. 

Alex.  Fraser,  Managing  Director  of  N.I. S.N.  Co., 

J.J.  Greenshi^lds,  of  Guthrie  &  Co.,  Singapore. 

J.  J.  E.  Brown,  of  Brown  &  Co.,  Penang. 

Law  Nairne,  of  Nairne  &  Co.,  Penang. 

Samuel  Van  Hulstijn,  Interim  Secretary. 

A.  Logan. 

It  is  intended  to  form  a  Board  of  Directors  in  London. 
All  communications  may  meanwhile  be  addressed  to 
W.  W.  Ker,  Esq.,  Cannon  Street,  London. 

In  1870  permission  was  granted  to  the  British  Austra- 
lian Telegraph  Co.,  Ltd.,  to  lay  and  work  a  cable  between 
Singapore,  Java,  and  Australia.  The  result  was  that 
Batavia  was  again  almost  immediately  in  communication 


with  Singapore,  and  Singapore  being  shortly  afterwards 
in  connection  with  Penang  and  Madras,  Java  was  at 
last  enabled  to  participate  in  the  advantages  of  inter- 
national telegraphic  communication.  In  October  1872 
the  cable  between  Java  and  Australia  was  opened,  and 
in  1873  the  British  Australian  Telegraph  Co.  was  incor- 
porated with  the  Eastern  Extension,  AustraUa  and  China 
Telegraph  Co.,  Ltd. 

In  1882  the  telegraphic  position  of  Malaya  was  thus 
described  in  military  publications  : 

"  Singapore  is  an  important  station  on  the  Hne  of 
telegraphic  communication  between  India,  China,  and 
Australia.     From  it  submarine   cables   run   as  under  : 

"  (i)  Singapore — Malacca,  Penang,  Madras. 

"  (2)  Singapore — Penang,  Rangoon,  thence  overland 
to  Calcutta. 

''(3)  Singapore — Saigon  (Cochin-China),  Hongkong, 
Shanghai,  Nagasaki,  Vladivostock,  thence 
overland  to  Europe. 

''  (4)  Singapore — Batavia,  Palmerston  (Australia). 

''(5)  Singapore— Palmerston. 

'^  There  is  thus  telegraphic  communication  to  Europe 
either  through  India  or  by  Hongkong.  There  are  local 
lines  connecting  the  Government  House  with  the  offices, 
and  with  the  headquarters  of  the  military  ;  also  from 
the  town  to  the  New  Harbour.  Penang  has  telegraphic 
communication  with  India  on  the  one  hand  and  with 
Malacca  and  Singapore  on  the  other,  and,  through  them, 
with  Europe  and  Australia.  There  are  also  small  local 
lines  for  the  convenience  of  the  port  and  the  public. 
Malacca  is  in  telegraphic  communication  with  Singapore 
and  Penang.  There  are  no  local  lines.  A  few  years 
ago  the  Siamese  Government  contemplated  laying  a 
telegraph  line  from  Singora  to  Penang  ;  in  fact,  the  track 
was  partly  cleared,  and  the  posts  cut,  but  the  idea  was 
abandoned.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that  the  Siamese  Govern- 
ment will  make  this  road  good,  and  establish  telegraphic 
communication  with  Penang.  The  line  should  be  con* 
tinued  through  the  Province  Wellesleyforpolicepurposes, 
and  in  time  through  the  Native  States  to  Singapore.  In 
case  of  any  future  disturbances  in  the  Peninsula,  the 
II — II 


value  of  a  trunk  road  and  telegraphic  communication 
between  the  different  stations  would  be  inestimable." 

In  1893  the  question  of  the  amalgamation  of  the 
Government  telegraph  at  Penang  with  the  Post  Office  was 
under  consideration,  but  the  transfer  from  the  Public 
Works  Department  was  not  carried  out  until  1901 .  The 
Government,  however,  owned  no  telegraph  lines  in  Singa- 
pore. The  Singapore  Government  Telegraph  Office  was 
opened  in  1909,  the  lines  from  Singapore  to  Kuala 
Lumpur  and  Penang  being  opened  for  Government 
messages  on  the  15th  March,  to  Kuala  Lumpur  for 
public  traffic  on  the  17th  May,  and  to  Penang  on  the 
17th  June.  There  were  frequent  breakdowns.  The 
opening  of  these  lines  diverted  a  good  deal  of  traffic 
from  the  cable  via  Malacca  to  the  through  land  lines. 

In  1 9 10  it  was  pointed  out  that  during  the  ten  years 
that  the  telegraphs  had  been  under  the  Postal  Department 
the  number  of  messages  had  increased  by  245  per  cent. 
The  telegraph  was  installed  at  Tanglin  Sub-Post  Office 
in  1 9 10,  and  at  Tanjong  Pagar  and  Keppel  Harbour  Sub- 
Post  Offices  in  191 3.  At  the  end  of  191 7  quadruplex 
instruments  were  set  up  and  worked  between  Singapore 
and  Kuala  Lumpur.  The  cable  station  at  Malacca  was 
given  up  by  the  Eastern  Extension,  Australia  and 
China  Telegraph  Co.  on  the  31st  January  191 7,  after 
which  date  all  telegraphic  correspondence  between  the 
outer  world  and  Malacca  was  borne  on  the  Government 
land  lines.  In  191 7,  also,  a  post  office  circuit  was 
opened  between  Singapore  and  Johore  Bahru. 

The  Straits  are  a  party  to  the  International  Telegraph 
Convention.  The  local  or  Malayan  rates  are  low  at 
3  cents  (less  than  a  penny)  a  word.  The  traffic  has 
increased,  and  is  still  increasing,  by  leaps  and  bounds. 
The  law  affecting  telegraphs  is  the  Telegraph  Ordinance 
of  1895. 


The  Government  telephones  in  Singapore  were  trans- 
ferred from  the  Public  Works  Department  to  the  care  of 


the  Post  Office  at  the  same  time  as  the  telegraphs  in  1901 . 
The  subject  is  not  of  much  pubKc  interest,  however, 
as  the  only  telephones  affected  in  Singapore  were  con- 
nections between  Government  offices,  police,  sub-post 
offices,  etc.  The  whole  of  the  Government  lines  were 
handed  over  to  the  Oriental  Telephone  Company  in 
1 91 6  on  certain  conditions  connected  with  their  licence, 
and  the  history  of  that  Company  will  be  found  in  another 
section  of  this  book.  The  following  extract  from  Mr. 
Noel  Trotter's  annual  report  for  1898  is,  however,  of 
interest  at  the  present  time  : 

*'  I  have  received  frequent  representations  from 
gentlemen,  some  with  knowledge  of  the  rnatter,  which 
entitles  them  to  speak  with  authority  on  the  subject, 
that  it  would  be  a  wise  policy  for  the  Post  Office  to  estab- 
lish efficient  telephone  exchanges  in  Singapore  and 
Penang.  The  existing  service  in  Singapore  consists 
of  lines  owned  by  four  different  proprietors,  namely,  the 
Imperial  Government,  the  Colonial  Government,  the 
Municipality,  and  the  Oriental  Telephone  Co.,  the  latter 
controlling  most  of  the  lines.  The  lines  are,  however, 
so  mixed  up  that  in  some  cases  the  wires  of  one  pro- 
prietor are  suspended  from  the  poles  of  two  others. 
This  does  not  appear  to  be  a  satisfactory  state  of  things. 
It  is  very  manifest  that,  for  obvious  reasons,  thetelephone 
services  in  the  Colony  should,  like  the  land  telegraphs, 
be  entirely  under  the  control  and  management  of  the 
local  Government.  I  understand  that  the  time  is  ripe 
for  the  establishment  of  a  public  telephone  exchange  in 
Penang.  The  following  extract  from  an  address  deliv- 
ered at  the  Institution  of  Civil  Engineers  in  London,  in 
November  last,  by  the  President,  Mr.  W.  H.  Preece,  C.B., 
Electrician-in-Chief  to  the  Post  Office,  is  of  special  interest 
in  this  connection  :  '  The  progress  of  the  use  of  the 
telephone  in  Great  Britain  has  been  checked  by  financial 
complications.  It  fell  into  the  hands  of  the"  company 
promoter.  It  has  remained  the  shuttlecock  of  the  Stock 
Exchange.  It  is  the  function  of  the  Postmaster-General 
to  work  for  the  public  every  system  of  intercommunica- 
tion of  thought  which  affects  the  interests  of  the  whole 
nation.     Telephony  is  an  Imperial  business,  like  the  post 


and  the  telegraph:  It  ought  to  be  in  the  hands  of  the 
State.  The  pubhc  and  the  Press  have  frequently  kicked 
violently  against  the  present  regime,'  " 


As  long  ago  as  1902  the  question  of  radio-telegraphic 
communication  between  Penang  and  Pulo  Jerejak  was 
under  discussion — a  telephone  cable  was  laid  instead, 
and  in  1906  the  Postmaster-General  had  proposed  a 
scheme  for  wireless  communication  between  Horsburgh 
Lighthouse  and  Singapore,  a  distance  of  thirty-six  miles, 
for  the  benefit  of  shipping.  Regulations  providing  for 
the  control  of  apparatus  for  wireless  telegraphy  on  board 
merchantships  in  the  waters  of  the  Colony  were  published 
in  the  beginning  of  1914,  and  during  that  year  progress 
was  made  with  the  Singapore  commercial  wireless 
station  at  Paya  Lebar.  The  station  was  completed  and 
opened  for  traffic  on  the  8th  October  191 5.  It  is 
controlled  by  the  Post  Office.  The  War  restrictions 
on  the  use  of  wireless  telegraphy  have  been  so  great 
that  very  little  business  has  been  transacted  with 

Wireless  communication  with  Sarawak  was  established 
on  the  22nd  May  1917 y  and  as  Sarawak  had  no  other 
means  of  telegraphic  communication  with  the  outer 
world  before  this,  a  fair  amount  of  business  has  been 
done  with  the  Singapore  station,  which  acts  as  inter- 
mediary between  Sarawak  and  the  rest  of  the  world  in 
the  matter  of  telegraphic  communication. 

The  Paya  Lebar  station  was  not  the  first  wireless  to  be 
opened  in  Singapore,  for  on  the  outbreak  of  war  in  19 14 
the  Eastern  Extension  Co.  hurriedly  erected  apparatus 
on  their  premises,  and  this  served  a  very  useful  purpose 
until  the  naval  station  at  Seletar  was  erected.  This 
station  belongs  to  the  Imperial  Government,  and  does  not 
transact  commercial  business,  though  it  will  probably 
do  so  in  the  not  distant  future.  Another  and  larger 
station  is  contemplated  near  Singapore  as  one  of  the 
links  on  the  Imperial  chain  of  wireless  stations. 


The   Colony  is   bound   by  the   International   Radio- 
telegraph Convention. 

Netherlands  India  Postal  Agency 
Donald  Maclaine  Campbell's  book  on  Java  (191 5) 
states  that  "  In  1849  the  Dutch  authorities  concluded 
an  arrangement  for  the  conveyance  of  all  correspondence 
via  Southampton  and  via  Marseilles  ;  this  was  received 
at  Singapore  by  the  Netherlands  India  Postal  Adminis- 
tration, and  forwarded  by  means  of  a  monthly  steamboat 
mail  service  that  had  been  established  between  Batavia 
and  Singapore,"  and  "  In  1870  the  service  via  Singapore, 
and  in  1871  the  service  via  Trieste  also,  which  had  been 
opened  in  1849,  were  discontinued."  In  1878  Dutch 
East  Indian  post  office  officials  were  appointed  as  postal 
agents  at  Singapore  and  Penang.  Their  duties  were  to 
see  that  there  was  no  delay  in  the  transmission  of  corres- 
pondence to  and  from  the  Dutch  East  Indies.  In 
March  1879  the  Dutch  postal  agencies  in  Singapore  and 
Penang  were  reorganised.  These  agencies  (which  are 
still  in  existence)  deal  with  a  great  quantity  of  mail 
matter  passing  to  and  from  the  Netherlands  East  Indies 
via  Singapore  and  Penang,  and  act  as  clearing-houses 
for  the  correspondence  to  and  from  innumerable  small 
Netherlands  East  India  ports,  which  have  more  frequent 
communication  with  Singapore  and  Penang  than  with 
the  important  towns  in  their  own  country. 

The  Indian  Stamp  Act  was  only  introduced  into  the 
Straits  on  the  ist  January  1863,  and  during  the  first  four 
months  of  that  year  the  total  sold  was  Rs.79,651  ;  but 
the  revenue  was  on  Indian  account,  and  most  of  it  was 
fiscal  as  distinct  from  postal.  Buckley  refers  to  the 
introduction  of  this  law  to  the  Straits:  "  The  stamps 
sent  were  all  in  rupees,  and  there  were  no  rupees,  and  no 
rate  of  exchange  was  provided  for.  Then  the  number  of 
stamps  was  inadequate,  and  the  natives  did  not  under- 
stand about  them . ' '  Stamps  must  have  been  available  in 
Singapore  before  this  date,  however,  for  we  find  in  the 


1862  Straits  Almanack  and  Directory  the  following  entry 
under  "Trades  and  Professions":  ''Postage  stamp 
vendor,  de  Souza,  Alex.  M.,  Raffles  Place."  The  first 
issue  of  postage  stamps  in  India  was  in  1 854. 

The  first  postage  stamps  used  in  the  Crown  Colony 
were  Indian  stamps  surcharged  with  a  crown  and  the 
value  in  cents — nine  different  values  of  Indian  stamps 
were  so  surcharged  in  1867,  the  surcharges  varying  from 
''  three  half-cents  "  to  ''  32  cents."  In  1868  the  Colony 
issued  its  own  stamps,  a  set  of  eight  :  2c.,  4c.,  6c.,  8c., 
I2C.,  24c.,  32c.,  96c.  ;  and  Indian  stamps  were  no  longer 
used  here.  A  30c.  stamp  was  issued  in  1872.  In  1882 
5c.  and  IOC.  stamps  were  produced  ;  in  1892,  3c.  and 
$5.  In  April  1902  King  Edward  took  Queen  Victoria's 
place  on  the  stamps,  and  a  series,  ic,  3c.,  4c.,  5c.,  8c., 
IOC,  25c.,  30c.,  50c.,  $1,  $2,  $5,  was  issued.  In  this 
issue  the  "  postage  and  revenue  "  stamps  became 
unified.  In  1904  the  ic,  3c.,  4c.,  and  8c.  stamps  bore 
new  designs  ;  they  all  bore  the  portrait  of  the  King's  head 
in  vignette:  in  the  case  of  the  ic.  there  is  a  coco-nut 
palm — one  of  the  emblems  of  Singapore — on  either  side 
of  His  Majesty's  portrait ;  the  3c.  shows  similarly  the 
Penang  or  betel-nut  palm,  emblematic  of  Penang;  the 
4c.  has  the  Gula  Malacca  (sugar-cane)  palm  for  a  sup- 
porter,usuallyassociatedwith  theancientSettlement;  and 
the  8c.  bears  a  kris  on  either  side,  the  typical  weapon 
peculiar  to  Malaya.  These  stamps,  which  were  designed 
by  Mr.  (now  Sir)  W.  Egerton  and  Mr.  Noel  Trotter, 
superseded  the  design  used  in  common,  with  a  distin- 
guishing name-plate,  by  all  British  Crown  Colonies,  which 
have  no  special  stamps  of  their  own.  The  same  series 
bore  the  effigy  of  King  George  after  His  Majesty's 
accession.  In  191 1  a  21c.  stamp  was  issued  for  use 
on  telegrams  and  a  45c.  stamp  for  use  on  parcels. 

The  revised  rates  of  postage  brought  into  force  on 
the  ist  January  191 8  necessitated  the  issue  of  two  new 
values,  2C.  and  $6,  and  several  colour  changes.  They 
had  not,  however,  made  their  appearance  at  the  date 
of  the  Centenary. 


An  account  of  the  very  numerous  surcharges  which 
were  issued  from  time  to  time  (generally  by  reason  of 
the  constant  reductions  in  postage),  before  1892,  of  the 
frequent  colour  changes,  differences  of  paper,  water- 
marks, perforations,  etc.,  would  not  be  appropriate 
to  a  work  of  this  nature ;  but  the  use  of  Straits  stamps 
in  countries  outside  the  Colony  is  a  matter  of  some 
historic  interest,  for  it  is  not  widely  known  that  all 
correspondence  from  the  Malay  States,  Siam,  Indo- 
China,  Borneo,  the  Philippine  Islands,  Java,  etc.,  for 
the  rest  of  the  world  circulated  through  Singapore,  and 
was  prepaid  by  means  of  Straits  stamps.  In  fact,  the 
first  stamps  issued  in  Siam  were  the  1 867  Indian  2-anna 
stamps,  supphed  by  this  Colony  to  the  British  Legation 
at  Bangkok  in  1882,  surcharged  with  a  capital  ''  B  " 
and  "32  cents."  As  soon  as  the  Straits  issued  their 
own  stamps  in  1868  the  different  values  were  similarly 
surcharged  "  B  "  for  use  on  correspondence  from 
Siam  for  other  countries.  The  use  of  these  stamps  in 
Siam  ceased  on  the  ist  July  1885,  when  that  State 
joined  the  Postal  Union. 

Until  1 880  it  had  been  the  practice  of  many  mercantile 
firms  in  the  Philippines  to  send  their  correspondence 
from  Europe  under  cover  to  Singapore  to  be  posted — 
the  enclosures  bearing  Straits  stamps  ;  this  ceased 
with  the  opening  of  direct  communication  between 
Manila  and  Europe,  Spanish  stamps  then  being  used. 

Sarawak  correspondence  for  the  outer  world  bore 
Straits  stamps  until  that  State  joined  the  Postal  Union, 
on  the  I  St  July  1897.  Similarly  with  the  Federated 
Malay  States  and  Johore  it  was  not  until  the  ist  January 
1899  that  their  stamps  were  recognised  as  valid  pre- 
payment of  postage  to  other  parts  of  the  world.  After 
the  ist  January  1899  Straits  stamps  were  used  nowhere 
outside  the  Colony — except  that  in  1900,  owing  to  an 
unexpected  delay  in  the  receipt  of  their  new  stamps,  the 
Federated  Malay  States  were  supplied  with  Straits 
stamps  to  the  value  of  $9,360.  The  amount  of  Straits 
stamps  sold  to  the  various  Malay  States  in  1896  was 


Perak,  $5,630  ;  Selangor,  $6,047  ;  Negri  Sembilan, 
$912;  Pahang,  $1,435;  and  Johore,  $182;  Sarawak 
took  $442,  making  a  grand  total  of  $14,628,  or  about 
£1,500  sterling.  In  1897  the  total  was  $13,938, 
and  1898,  $14,433.  The  stamps  used  in  the  various 
Malay  States  were  surcharged  with  the  name  of  the 

Money  order  commission  was  paid  in  stamps  from 
1888  to  the  3 1  St  March  1 895 .  Telegrams  have  been  pre- 
paid by  means  of  stamps  since  1908. 

In  1886  an  Ordinance  was  passed  to  render  penal  in 
the  Colony  the  manufacture,  issue,  or  sale  of  forged  foreign 
postage  stamps,  and  similar  provision  is  made  in  the 
current  Post  Office  Ordinance  V  of  1904. 

On  the  1 7th  February  19 1.6  two  kinds  of  special  stamps 
were  on  sale — not  available  for  postage  purposes — 
for  the  benefit  of  Lord  Roberts's  Memorial  Workshops 
and  Local  Relief  Fund.  There  was  very  little  demand 
for  them,  however,  on  account  of  their  uselessness  for 
postal  purposes  and  consequent  disinterest  to  philatelists. 
They  were  withdrawn  in  191 8.  Red  Cross  stamps 
were  issued  in  191 7 — they  were  the  ordinary  3c.  and  4c. 
stamps  surcharged  *'  Red  Cross — 2  cents,"  and  were 
sold  at  5c.  and  6c.  respectively.  They  were  available 
for  local  postage  purposes  to  the  original  value  of  the 
stamps,  the  additional  2c.  on  each  stamp  being  credited 
to  the  Red  Cross  Fund.  These  stamps,  which,  as  was 
to  be  expected,  were  much  more  popular  than  the 
non-postage  stamps  issued  in  191 6,  were  withdrawn 
in  191 8  under  instructions. 

Stamp  booklets  were  placed  on  sale  in  December 
19 16,  containing  ic,  3c.,  and  4c.  stamps.  These  proved 
popular,  and  a  new  book  containing  only  4c.  stamps 
was  issued  in  191 7.  They  were  sold  at  $1  each,  the 
face  value  of  the  stamps. 

International  post  cards  (3  cents)  were  introduced  in 
September  1879,  and  sold  at  slightly  above  face  value. 
Since  May  1883,  however,  they  have  been  sold  for  the 
face  value  of  the  stamps  impressed  on  the  cards.     Local 


post  cards  (i  cent)  were  issued  on  the  15  th  December 
1884,  for  use  in  the  Straits,  Malay  States,  and  Johore. 
Reply  post  cards  for  local  and  foreign  use  were  introduced 
in  January  1885. 

Official  registration  envelopes  in  five  sizes  have  been 
available  since  February  1891. 

Relations  with  Neighbouring  States 

The  treaty  of  the  20th  June  1826,  between  the 
Honourable  East  India  Company  and  the  King  of  Siam, 
contained  the  following  curious  article  : 

"  If  any  Englishman  desires  to  transmit  a  letter  to 
any  person  in  a  Siamese  or  other  country,  such  person 
only  and  no  other  shall  open  and  look  into  the  letter. 
If  a  Siamese  desire  to  transmit  a  letter  to  any  person 
in  an  English  or  any  other  country,  such  person  only 
and  no  other  shall  open  and  look  into  the  letter." 

During  1881  the  Government  of  Siam,  with  a  view 
to  establish  post  offices  in  that  kingdom,  sent  an  officer 
to  Singapore  to  gain  an  insight  into  the  Straits  system, 
and  it  was  hoped  that  this  would  further  Siam's  wish 
to  be  brought  into  direct  postal  communication  with 
the  rest  of  the  world.  There  was  no  post  office  in  Siam 
at  that  time,  but  she  joined  the  Postal  Union  on  the  ist 
July  1885,  and  it  was  no  longer  necessary  for  all  corres- 
pondence to  and  from  Siam  to  pass  a  decouvert  through 

The  Maharaja  of  Johore  consulted  the  Postmaster- 
General  of  the  Colony  in  1 871  with  a  view  of  establishing 
a  postal  service  with  compulsory  repayment  and  free 
delivery  at  either  end,  but  postal  communication  was 
not  established  with  Johore  until  June  1884.  The 
mails  were  conveyed  by  coach  until  the  railway  opened 
in  1903. 

The  Postmaster-General  of  the  Straits  went  to  Java 
in  1 867  to  arrange  a  connection  with  the  Dutch  Govern- 
ment, the  great  feature  of  which  was  to  secure  free 
delivery  throughout   Netherlands   India  of    all    letters 


prepaid  with  Straits  Settlements  stamps,  the  Straits 
reciprocally  undertaking  to  deliver  free  in  this  Colony 
letters  from  the  Netherlands  India  for  the  Straits  when 
prepaid  with  Dutch  stamps. 

Singapore's  unique  geographical  position  on  the  great 
highway  placed  the  Settlement  in  a  position  to  influence 
the  postal  arrangements  of  the  neighbouring  Malay 
and  foreign  states,  many  of  which  followed  closely  at 
her  heels  in  introducing  new  systems  and  in  extending 
old  ones.  We  have  seen  in  preceding  pages  how  and 
why  the  neighbouring  States  used  Straits  stamps  on 
their  foreign  correspondence,  practically  all  of  which 
was  dealt  with  by  the  Straits  Post  Office  ;  how,  after 
estabhshing  a  local  parcel  post  with  the  Malay  States 
Singapore  became  the  intermediary  for  the  transmission 
of  parcels  from  those  States  to  the  rest  of  the  world 
and  vice  versa ;  similarly  with  money  orders  until  the 
Malay  States  arranged  their  own  direct  exchanges  with 
other  countries  ;  how  much  more  closely  connected 
the  States  and  the  Settlements  became  on  the  comple- 
tion of  the  through  railway  and  the  overland  telegraph  ; 
how  a  Local  Postal  Union  grew  up,  introducing  low  and 
uniform  rates  of  postage,  and  comprising  the  Straits, 
the  Federated  Malay  States,  Johore,  Kedah,  Kelantan, 
Trengganu,  Pedis,  Sarawak,  British  North  Borneo, 
and  Brunei  ;  how  the  Malayan  Telegraph  Agreement 
between  the  Straits,  Federated  Malay  States,  and  Kedah 
gave  uniformity  and  a  low  charge  in  the  matter  of 
telegraphic  arrangements. 

Straits  officers  visited  and  reported  on  postal  matters 
in  the  Malay  States  from  time  to  time,  and  Mr.  Noel 
Trotter  wrote  in  his  1893  report  : 

"  I  attach  no  slight  importance  to  the  improvement 
and  development  of  the  postal  relation  between  the 
Colony  and  the  Native  States  by  the  organisation  and 
maintenance  of  a  complete  system,  based  on  uniform 
principles  and  applicable  throughout  the  Straits  and 
British  Malaya.  I  think  it  would  be  a  departmental 
as  well  as  a  public  advantage  if  the  Post  Office  of  the 


Straits  and  the  Peninsula  were  formed  into  one  service  ; 
but  there  are  difficulties  at  present  in  the  way  of  the 
realisation  of  this  idea,  the  most  prominent  being  the 
financial  one,  although  one  of  the  results  would  be  that 
of  economy." 

In  June  1902  Mr.  Trotter  proceeded  to  the  Federated 
Malay  States  to  report  on  the  postal  service  there,  and 
to  advise  regarding  the  adoption  of  a  uniform  system 
throughout  the  States.  This  resulted  in  the  appoint- 
ment of  a  Director  of  Posts  and  Telegraphs  for  the 
Federated  Malay  States  in  1904,  and  the  organisation 
of  the  Post  Office  of  the  several  States  on  a  federal  and 
uniform  basis. 


His  Majesty's  Postmaster-General  has  no  powers  or 
privileges  in  relation  to  posts  within  the  Colony.  The 
powers  and  privileges  of  the  Postmaster-General  of  the 
Straits  Settlements  are  defined  in  the  several  Straits 
Ordinances  governing  the  Post  Office,  money  orders, 
the  telegraphs  (including  telephones  and  wireless)  and 
the  Savings  Bank. 

In  Singapore  the  Post  Office  was  for  many  years  under 
the  Master  Attendant.  In  1855  he  had  the  assistance 
of  a  Postmaster  with  a  salary  of  £2>9^  to  carry  on 
the  more  immediate  duties  in  connection  with  the 
Post  Office.  In  1856  a  letter,  very  numerously  signed 
by  the  merchants,  was  sent  to  Government  suggesting 
that  the  Post  Office  was  becoming  of  great  importance, 
and  recommending  separation  from  the  Marine  Office 
and  the  appointment  of  Mr.  William  Cuppage  as  Post- 
master, this  gentleman  having  carried  out  the  duties 
since  before  1831,  though  nominally  under  the  Harbour 
Master.  Mr.  Cuppage  became  Postmaster,  and  acted 
as  Postmaster-General  in  1 869,  when  this  appointment 
was  created. 

Mr.  Henry  Trotter  came  from  Ceylon  to  be  the  first 
Postmaster-General  of  the  Colony  in  1871,  and  remained 
in  the    post    until   May    1882,  when  he  was  succeeded 


by  Mr.  E.  E.  Isemonger.  Except  for  comparatively 
short  periods,  during  which  Mr.  H.  A.  O'Brien  performed 
the  duties  of  his  post  as  Postmaster-General,  Mr.  Noel 
Trotter  acted  as  Postmaster-General  from  1883  to  1895, 
when  he  was  appointed  to  the  post  which  he  continued 
to  hold  until  his  retirement  in  1907.  In  1907  Mr.  W.  G. 
Bell  became  Postmaster-General,  and  in  1916  Mr.  F. 
M.  Baddeley,  the  present  holder. 

For  nearly  forty  years  the  Trotters,  father  and  son, 
directed  the  progress  of  the  Straits  Post  Office.  Their 
memory  still  lives  in  the  Department,  for  there  are  a 
few  of  the  staff  who  remember  the  father,  and  many 
who  remember  the  son,  with  the  greatest  respect  and 
affection.  They  were  of  the  old  school,  and  their 
hospitality  and  innumerable  kindnesses  to  their  staff 
have  left  the  happiest  recollections.  Enthusiasm  was 
encouraged  and  guided  into  the  best  channels,  and  many 
have  regretted  not  having  had  a  few  more  years  of  that 
guidance  and  unselfish  assistance.  There  can  be  no 
more  fitting  conclusion  to  this  chapter  than  the  letter 
addressed  to  Mr.  Noel  Trotter  on  his  retirement  in  1907 
by  representative  members  ofthe  commercial  community, 
and  the  reply  which  suggests  to  the  reader  some  of  the 
ideals  which  actuated  his  management  of  the  Post 
Office.  When  Mr.  Noel  Trotter  retired  in  1907,  the 
father,  Mr.  Henry  Trotter,  was  still  alive  and  well, 
and  it  was  a  rare  pleasure  to  see  father  and  son  both 
enjoying  their  retirement. 

"  Singapore, 
"  25th  February  1907. 

**  Henry  Noel  Cortlandt  Trotter,  Esq., 

Postmaster-General  Straits  Settlements,  Singapore. 
'^  Dear  Sir, 

**  The  Merchants,  Bankers,  Members  of  the  legal 
profession,  and  others  concerned  in  the  Commerce  of 
Singapore,  on  learning  of  your  decision  to  retire  from 
the  office  of  Postmaster-General  of  the  Straits  Settle- 
ments, have  felt  that  it  is  due  to  you  to  mark  in  some 
tangible  form  their  appreciation  of  the  manner  in  which 


II.  162] 


their  interests  have  been  studied  and  advanced  through 
the  highly  efficient,  organisation  into  which  the  Postal 
Service  of  the  Straits  Settlements  has  been  brought  by 
you  during  the  long  term  of  your  administrative  direction 
of  that  Department,  and  they  decided  to  ask  you  to 
accept  a  memento  of  their  appreciation  in  the  form  of 
silver  plate. 

"  A  movement  towards  this  end  at  once  received 
very  hearty  and  general  response,  with  the  result  that 
$1,460  have  been  contributed  for  the  purpose,  by  widely 
spread  subscriptions,  a  list  of  which  is  enclosed. 

*'  As  you  are  about  to  return  to  England,  it  is  felt  that 
the  form  and  design  of  plate  most  appropriate  and  suit- 
able for  this  presentation  can  best  be  left  to  your  own 
choice  and  decision.  It  has,  therefore,  been  decided 
tohandyouthe  amountsubscribed  (cheque  now  enclosed), 
and  ask  you  to  procure  in  England,  as  the  gift  to  you  of 
the  subscribers,  such  form  of  silver  plate  as  your  own 
preference  may  suggest. 

*'  The  subscribers  to  this  presentation  ask  that  you  will 
have  the  following  superscription  engraved  upon  their 
gift,  viz.  : 


OF    THE 

Straits  Settlements 

On  his  retirement  after  thirty  years  of  service  in 
that  Department. 

In  appreciation  of  the  high  state  of  efficiency  into 
which  his  life's  work  has  brought  the  Postal  organisation 
of  the  Straits  Settlements. 

A  presentation  subscribed  for  by  Merchants,  Bankers, 
Members  of  the  legal  profession,  and  others  concerned 
in  the  Commerce  of  Singapore. 

"Singapore,  Straits  Settlements, 
25th  February  1907. 

"  On  behalf  of  the  subscribers  we  thank  you  for  your 
invariable  study   of  their  interests,   and   we   add   the 


expression  of  their  hope  that  you  may  long  have  health 
and  happiness  in  the  Home  Country  to  which  you  are 

"  For  the  subscribers 
''  Believe  us  to  be,  yours  very  truly, 
"  Thos.  S.  Baker 
**  C.  Mc Arthur 
"  W.  J.  Napier 
"  John  Anderson." 

"  Singapore, 
"  25th  February  1907. 

**  To  The  Honourable  John  Anderson,  The  Honourable 
W.  J.  Napier,  D.C.L.,  The  Honourable  T.  S.  Baker, 
C.  McArthur,  Esq. 

"  Dear  Sirs, 

"  I  have  much  pleasure  in  acknowledging  the 
receipt  of  your  letter  of  this  day's  date,  on  behalf  of 
the  Merchants,  Bankers,  Members  of  the  legal  profession, 
and  others  concerned  in  the  Commerce  of  Singapore, 
expressing  their  appreciation  of  my  work  in  the  Postal 
Departm.ent  of  the  Straits  Settlements,  and  enclosing 
a  cheque  for  $1,460  to  be  used  by  me  in  purchasing  a 
memento  in  the  form  of  silver  plate. 

"  No  commendation  could  be  more  gratifying  to  me 
than  that  of  the  Mercantile  Community,  which  has  had 
the  widest  opportunities  of  judging  my  work  ;  and  from 
the  bottom  of  my  heart  I  thank  the  very  representative 
body  of  subscribers,  whose  names  are  given  in  the  list 
accompanying  your  letter,  for  the  very  handsome  and 
exceptional  recognition,  both  verbal  and  tangible,  of 
my  official  service. 

"  I  shall  be  very  proud  to  carry  out  the  wishes  of  the 
subscribers  with  regard  to  the  inscription  to  be  engraved 
on  their  generous  gift. 

"  I  have  always  considered  that  my  first  duty  was 
to  the  public,  and  my  constant  aim  in  managing  the 
Post  Office  was  to  secure  efficiency,  or  in  other  words  to 
provide  a  safe,  quick,  cheap,  and  up-to-date  service, 
with  an  absence  of  red-tape. 


'  *  Whatever  results  have  been  accomphshed  could  not 
have  been  achieved  without  the  excellent  esprit  de  corps 
which  has  animated  all  branches  of  the  staff,  to  w^hom 
much  credit  is  due. 

"  I  am  also  extremely  grateful  for  the  very  good  wishes 
contained  in  the  final  paragraph  of  your  letter,  and  I 
shall  ever  retain  the  happiest  recollections  of  the  har- 
monious relations  which  have  always  existed  between 
the  public  and  myself. 

"  As  my  time  is  so  short,  it  will  be  impossible  for  me 
to  personally  thank  all  the  subscribers,  and  I  would, 
therefore,  ask  you  to  add  to  your  kindness  to  me  by 
acting  as  the  channel  for  conveying  my  heartfelt  thanks 
to  them. 

"  Believe  me, 

"  Yours  very  truly, 

*'  Noel  Trotter.'* 


By  Walter  Makepeace 

The  climatic  and  geographical  conditions  of  Singapore 
affect  the  personnel  of  the  firms  that  carry  on  business 
here  (since  practically  every  business  man  has  to  go  on 
frequent  leave)  and  the  length  of  life  of  the  firms,  hence 
the  personal  element  of  the  trader  is  of  such  great  im- 
portance. The  history  of  the  firms  of  the  Colony  shows 
a  surprising  number  of  firms  founded  by  men  who  have 
come  out  to  other  establishments  and  have  chosen  to 
"  go  on  their  own."  There  has  also  been  a  considerable 
amount  of  changing  from  firm  to  firm  among  the  juniors 
who  subsequently  became  seniors,  and,  as  an  inevitable 
result  of  changing  conditions  of  trade,  many  absorptions 
have  taken  place.  An  attempt  is  made  to  put  on 
record  a  brief  history  of  the  oldest  or  most  important 
firms  in  the  place  at  the  outbreak  of  war  in  August 
1914,  the  circumstances  of  trade  during  the  War  being 
so  far  removed  from  the  normal  that  its  permanent 
effect  on  the  history  of  Singapore  cannot  yet  be 

There  are  also  included  many  firms  that  have  been  at 
one  time  or  another  in  existence  in  the  town,  these 
including  the  German  and  Austrian  concerns  closed  under 
War  Regulations. 

Neither  list  is  claimed  to  be  complete,  and  the  Direc- 
tories of  the  last  ten  years  are  so  readily  available  that 
it  was  not  considered  necessary  to  elaborate  the  recent 
life-history  of  the  businesses,  except  in  a  few  cases. 



The  Telegraph  Company 

The  first  mention  of  the  electric  telegraph  is  found 
in  1859,  when  the  Dutch  Government  laid  the  Singapore- 
Batavia  line,  the  first  message  being  sent  on  the  24th 
November.  Congratulations  were  exchanged  between 
the  Governors  of  the  colonies  thus  connected ;  but  then 
the  cable  s.napped,  and  there  is  no  indication  that  the 
communication  was  ever  restored  beyond  an  entry  in 
the  1 860  Directory  :  "  Electric  Telegraph  Establishment — ■ 
Office  right  bank,  river  side.  The  line  is  open  between 
Singapore  and  Batavia.  D.  Gollner,  Chief;  Schreyner, 

In  1863  there  was  a  small  shed  in  the  Square  used  for 
the  telegraph  line  from  Singapore  to  New  Harbour;  J. 
Fisher,  Proprietor ;  W.  Allen,  Manager.  Fisher  was  a 
partner  of  Fisher  and  Riley,  engineers,  later  Riley, 
Hargreaves  and  Co.  This  local  line  was  evidently  of 
considerable  use.  In  1873  it  is  recorded  as  disabled  by 
a  thunderstorm. 

The  cable  to  Madras  was  completed  on  the  31st 
December  1870,  and  opened  to  the  public  in  January 
1 871,  "  thus  placing  Singapore  in  direct  communication 
with  India,  Europe,  Great  Britain,  and  America."  The 
office  was  in  Prince's  Street,  in  a  house  leased  from  the 
Sultan  of  Johore.  On  the  14th  April  it  is  recorded  that 
the  result  of  the  University  Boat  Race  was  telegraphed 
out  in  four  minutes  to  Bombay.  On  the  19th  May  1871 
the  ships  to  lay  the  China  telegraph  cable  sailed,  the 
Agnes,  Belgian,  Minia,  and  Kangaroo.  The  Agnes  was 
the  smallest  of  the  four,  and  took  one  hundred  miles, 
returning  when  it  was  laid.  The  question  of  the  branch 
to  Saigon  was  then  unsettled.  The  buoys  were  placed 
at  Cape  St.  James  the  following  year,  and  the  cable 
joined  up.  Mr.  J.  W.  Fuller  was  the  first  Manager  in 
Singapore,  and  when  he  retired,  on  the  9th  January 
1874,  he  received  an  address  from  the  merchants 
recognising  his  courteous  services.  Mr.  Bennett  Pell 
succeeded  him  in  1881 — he  lived  at  Grasslands,  River 
II — 12 


Valley  Road — and  the  Graham  Bell  telephone,  invented 
in  1876  and  coming  into  use  in  1878,  was  in  use  in  the 
Telegraph  Office,  Singapore,  in  1881  as  a  private 
venture  of  Mr.  Pell.  The  Singapore  venture  was  then 
the  Oriental  Telephone  Company.  The  Penang  belonged 
to  a  Mr.  Gott,  and  that  was  taken  over  by  Government. 
Mr.  Grigor  Taylor,  who  succeeded  him,  was  Manager 
of  the  Telephone  Co.  in  Singapore.  Mr.  Grigor  Taylor 
was  a  well-known  and  much  respected  resident  of 
Singapore  for  many  years,  and  when  he  left,  in  September 
1902,  Singapore  ceased  to  be  the  headquarters  of  the 
General  Manager,  and  became  a  district.  The  per- 
manency of  the  staff  of  the  Telegraph  Company  is  a 
great  feature  of  the  history  of  Singapore.  For  instance, 
A.  Y.  Gahagan,  who  was  still  Manager  in  191 2,  was 
a  member  of  the  Singapore  Cricket  Club  Committee 
in  1 88 1,  and  the  record  of  the  following  members  of  the 
staff  in  that  year  extends  well  over  the  quarter  of  a 
century  :  Mr.  J.  C.  D.  Jones,  electrician  ;  Mr.  J.  C.  Cuff, 
assistant  electrician  ;  Messrs.  K.  A.  Stevens,  A.  C.  M. 
Weaver,  J.  H.  D.  Jones,  A.  J.  Collier  (of  Malacca). 
Mr.  J.  C.  H.  Darby  is  the  oldest  member  of  the  service 
now  in  the  Straits  (arrived  1883)  ;  Mr.  H.  K.  C.  Fisher, 
who  retired  from  the  Straits  in  191 7,  having  been  on  the 
staff  in  1880,  died  soon  after  retirement. 

The  dates  of  laying  the  various  cables  now  existing 
are  Madras,  Penang,  Singapore,  1870,  diiplicated  in  1891; 
to  Hongkong  and  St.  James,  1871  ;  Singapore-Batavia 
and  Australia,  1871  ;  Singapore-Banjoewangi,  1879; 
Cocos  Island,  1908;  direct  Colombo,  Penang,  Singapore, 
1 9 14.  The  Company's  cable  ships  with  considerable 
times  of  service  in  the  Straits  are  the  Sherard  Osborn, 
1878  to  1902  (Captain  Worsley,  later  Captains  W.  S. 
Fawcus,  G.  V.  Madge,  Dunmall,  and  Rushton) ;  Recorder 
(Captain  Madge,  Captain  Dunmall);  Agnes,  1872  to 
1885  ;  Edinburgh,  1872  to  1878.  In  the  course  of  their 
work  out  East  most  important  ocean  sounding  has  been 
done,  of  which  careful  record  was  kept  and  report  sent 
home  to  the  Admiralty  to  be  entered  into  the  official 


charts.  Thus  we  find  in  1889  that  from  a  report 
furnished  by  Captain  Madge,  of  the  Recorder ^  the  Hector 
Bank  in  the  Carimata  Straits  has  been  replaced  on  the 
Admiralty  charts. 

One  of  the  most  important  of  these  sounding  expedi- 
tions may  be  mentioned,  that  for  the  Cape-Australia 
cable  in  1901,  the  soundings  having  been  taken  in  1900, 
when  the  Sherard  Osborn  deep  was  discovered  between 
Adelaide  and  Mauritius  via  Gocos — 5,500  miles — ^when 
over  440  soundings  were  taken  in  depths  up  to  3,550 

The  first  instrument  used  was  the  mirror.  About  1 879 
this  was  replaced  by  the  siphon  recorder.  The  auto- 
matic cable  relay  was  introduced  about  1900,  and  a  late 
development  of  it  is  the  direct  connection  between  Aden 
and  Singapore,  the  automatic  relay  being  at  Colombo. 
The  development  in  number  of  connections,  in  perfection 
of  instruments  and  cables,  is  paralleled  by  the  increase 
of  staff  and  business. 

In  1 89 1  the  Eastern  Extension,  Australasia  and  China 
Telegraph  Company  was  the  successor  or  amalgamator 
(about  1873)  of  the  British  India  Extension  Telegraph 
Company,  the  China  Submarine  Telegraph  Company,  the 
British  Australasian  Cable  Company.  The  staff  of  the 
Company  at  Singapore  numbered  fifty-three,  not  in- 
cluding the  shops.  Last  year's  list  includes  116  for 
the  Singapore  office  alone.  The  increase  in  commercial 
and  cable  work  is  shown  by  the  figures  for  March  1 874, 
when  74,900  words  were  signalled  by  the  Singapore 
station,  and  March  191 4,  when  the  total  was  1,111,416. 

Previous  to  1886  spare  cable  was  stored  in  an  exca- 
vation at  Keppel  Harbour,  on  the  site  of  the  present 
boat-building  shed.  In  1879  a  sailing  ship,  the  Southern 
Ocean,  arrived  from  England  (her  chief  officer  was  Mr. 
H.  Owen,  for  many  years  in  command  of  local  steamers, 
and  latterly  a  pilot).  She  was  fitted  with  tanks,  and 
was  converted  into  a  hulk  for  stores  and  spare  cable. 
She  lay  off  Tanjong  Rhu  until  1886.  (In  November 
1884  Mr.,  Gardner,  cable  foreman  on  this  hulk,  died  of 


hydrophobia,  this  being  the  first  authenticated  case  of 
this  disease  in  Singapore.)  In  1886  the  Cable  Depot 
was  built  at  Keppel  Harbour  on  land  leased  from  the 
New  Harbour  Dock  Company,  five  tanks  from  the  hulk, 
and  four  new  ones.  In  1896  the  area  was  doubled  by  a 
lease  of  further  ground,  and  a  factory  for  the  manufac- 
ture of  cable  from  picked  up  gutta-percha  core  was 
started.  At  present  the  number  of  tanks  is  seventeen, 
capacity  95,000  cubic  feet,  holding  1,600  miles  of  inter- 
mediate cable.  In  191 1  electric  motors  were  installed, 
power  being  supplied  by  the  Singapore  Harbour  Board. 
In  1903  the  Sherard  Osborn  was  sold  to  the  Eastern 
Telegraph  Company  and  replaced  by  the  Patrol.  In 
1904  the  Magnet  was  purchased  as  a  third  ship.  The 
Sherard  Osborn  was  named  after  a  distinguished  naval 
officer  who  wrote  a  book  about  "  Quedah."  The  Agnes 
was  named  after  his  daughter. 

Oriental  Telephone  and  Electric  Co. 

Mr.  Bennett  Pell,  of  the  Telegraph  Co.,  was  the 
owner  of  a  small  private  telephone  system,  installed 
soon  after  the  invention  of  the  Graham  Bell  Telephone. 
In  1878  a  trial  had  been  made  on  Mr.  Fisher's  telegraph 
line  from  the  Square  to  New  Harbour,  and  a  sample 
instrument  was  placed  in  the  Raffles  Museum.  On  the 
ist  July  1882  the  Oriental  Telephone  Co.  bought  out 
Mr.  Bennett  Pell,  the  owner,  trading  as  John  Eraser 
and  Co. 

The  exchange  was  situated  on  the  first  floor  of  Messrs. 
Paterson,  Simons  and  Co.'s  offices,  Prince's  Street,  and 
comprised  a  50-line  standard  plug  switchboard  without 
cords.  When  taken  over  by  the  Oriental  Co.,  the 
Exchange  was  removed  (in  1898)  to  91  Robinson  Road, 

The  first  Manager  of  the  Company  was  Mr.  J.  B. 
Saunders  in  1885,  followed  by  Mr.  John  Sibbons  in  1893. 

The  subscribers  in  1882  were:  Behn,  Meyer  and  Co., 
Bernard  and  Son,  Borneo  Co.,  Ltd.,  Boustead  and  Co., 
Brennand  and  Wilkinson  Co.,  Cameron,  Dunlop  and  Co., 


Chartered  Bank  of  India,  Australia  and  China,  Chartered 
Mercantile  Bank  of  India,  etc.,  Crane  Bros.,  The  Singa- 
pore Exchange,  John  Eraser,  Hamilton,  Gray  and  Co., 
Hongkong  and  Shanghai  Bank,  Katz  Bros.,  John  Little 
and  Co.,  Maclaine,  Eraser  and  Co.,  Mansfield  and  Co., 
Martin,  Dyce  and  Co.,  McKerrow,  William  and  Co., 
McAlister  and  Co. ,MessageriesMaritimesCie.,  Netherlands 
Trading  Society,  Oriental  Banking  Co.,  Paterson,  Simons 
and  Co.,  Peninsular  and  Oriental  Steam  Navigation  Co., 
Powell  and  Co.,  John  Purvis,  Puttfarcken,  Rheiner  and 
Co.,  Rautenberg,  Schmidt  and  Co.,  Dr.  Robertson,  J.  D. 
Ross,  jr.,  Sayle  and  Co.,  W.  R.  Scott  and  Co.,  Syme 
and  Co.,  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.,  Eastern  Extension 
Telegraph  Co.,  Gilfillan,  Wood  and  Co.,  Guthrie  and  Co., 
New  Harbour  Dock  Co.,  Ltd.,  The  Maharaja  of  Johore. 

In  1907  the  Company  transferred  their  connection 
from  the  two  exchanges  at  Robinson  Road  and  Tanglin 
to  a  central  exchange  in  Hill  Street,  where  a  lamp- 
signalling  system  was  brought  into  use.  In  1908  Mr. 
John  Sibbons  retired  from  the  Company's  service,  and 
was  succeeded  by  Mr.  P.  H.  Gibbs.  For  health  reasons 
Mr.  P.  H.  Gibbs  found  it  necessary  to  resign  in  191 5, 
and  Mr.  J.  D.  Pierrepont  was  then  appointed  Manager 
of  the  branch.  In  December  1916  the  Company 
suffered  an  unfortunate  experience  in  having  their 
exchange  burnt  out,  and  at  the  present  time  a  central 
battery  exchange  is  in  course  of  being  erected.  There 
are  now  1,832  exchange  lines. 

The  Peninsular  and  Oriental  Steam    Navigation 

Co.,  Ltd. 

The  actual  commencement  of  the  P.  and  O.  Company 
was  when  the  Iberia  left  England  in  1837,  with  the 
Peninsular  mails.  Down  to  1840  the  mails  to  and 
from  India  were  carried  by  the  H.E.I.C.  in  their  own 
steamers  between  Alexandria,  Bombay,  and  Suez,  and 
by  steamers  of  the  Imperial  Government  between 
Alexandria  and  Gibraltar.  Alexandria  to  England  was 
three  or  four  weeks.     In  1840  the  Oriental,  of  1,600  tons 


and  450  h.p.,  and  the  Great  Liverpool,  of  1,540  tons,  were 
despatched  with  the  Peninsular  and  Indian  mails.  These 
were  the  first  of  the  P.  and  O.  mails.  The  line  east  of 
Suez  was  opened  by  the  Hindustan  in  1842  (1,800  tons), 
which  went  round  the  Cape.  In  1844  a  contract  was 
made  for  the  extension  of  the  P.  and  O.  line  to  Singapore 
and  Hongkong  at  175.  per  mile.  In  this  year  the  fleet 
consisted  of  fourteen  ships,  including  the  Hindustan, 
the  Bentinck,  and  the  Precursor.  Also,  William  C. 
Crane  was  agent  for  Waghorn  and  Co.  in  Singapore. 
The  landmarks  of  the  Company's  property  in  Singapore 
bear  date  1850. 

The  Overland  Route  is  as  old  as  history.  Lieutenant 
Waghorn  revived  it — eighteen  hours'  journey,  ninety 
miles  across  the  desert  in  an  omnibus  on  a  road  hardly 
distinguishable  from  the  desert.  Fresh  water  and  coal 
had  to  be  carried  by  the  same  route  (coal  was  cheaper 
sent  this  way  than  round  the  Cape  by  sailing  ships). 
The  railway  was  completed  in  1858.  The  P.  and  O.  spent 
on  an  average  ;£52  5,ooo  per  annum  in  coal,  and  Singa- 
pore stocked  8,000  tons.  In  1853  the  mail  was  sent 
every  other  month  to  Sydney  by  way  of  Singapore.  The 
main  line  was  12  knots,  the  branch  lines  10 J  knots, 
and  8 1  knots  between  Singapore  and  Sydney,  the  Hima- 
laya, Nubia,  Pera,  and  Colombo  ;  in  1853,  Simla,  Valetta, 
Bengal,  and  Vectis.  In  1857  a  strenuous  attempt  was 
made  by  the  European  and  Australian  Co.  to  obtain  the 
contract,  but  it  failed  miserably.  In  1869  the  Suez 
Canal  was  opened.  For  four  years  the  mails  were 
actually  landed  at  Alexandria  and  taken  overland  to 
Suez,  where  they  were  embarked  on  the  same  steamers 
which  had  passed  through  the  canal.  In  this  year  the 
P.  and  O.  offices  in  Singapore  were  in  Battery  Road  and 
at  New  Harbour.  Mr.  H.  T.  Marshall  was  Superin- 

This  is  an  early  phase  of  the  *'  fares  "  question.  In 
January  1853  a  circular  was  issued  announcing  a  "  con- 
siderable reduction  "  in  fares.  On  the  ist  March  1854, 
"  owing  to  the  increased  price  in  coal,"  the  fares  were 

•      p.   AND   O.   COMPANY  173 

increased,  being  then  $600  from  Singapore  to  Southamp- 
ton, payable  in  Spanish,  Mexican,  or  Peruvian  dollars. 
A  promise  was  given  of  reduction  when  possible,  which 
promise  was  redeemed  on  the  9th  August  1856,  the  fare 
Southampton  to  Singapore  falling  from  £125  to  £110; 
but  excess  luggage  had  to  be  paid  for  at  the  rate  of 
$14.40  per  cwt. 

It  was  not  till  1888  that  the  Suez  Canal  route  became 
the  exclusive  route  for  the  mails,  and  the  condition  that 
the  mails  should  be  sent  overland  was  withdrawn.  The 
P.  and  O.  Khedive  had  been  put  on  in  1871,  at  a  cost  of 
£1 10,000,  being  under  4,000  tons,  built  by  Caird  and  Co., 

With  its  fine  general  record  for  safety  the  Company 
has  yet  suffered  losses,  which  have  concerned  the 
Straits,  of  recent  years.  The  Bokhara^  of  2,994  tons, 
struck  on  dangerous  rocks  round  the  Pescadores  in 
1892,  and  foundered  with  all  on  board,  only  seven  Euro- 
peans and  sixteen  Lascars  escaping  to  the  island.  A 
worse  disaster  was  the  loss  of  the  Aden  (4,200  tons)  off 
the  island  of  Socotra  in  1897,  on  her  voyage  home  from 
Yokohama.  She  carried  thirty-four  passengers  and  a 
valuable  cargo.  She  encountered  very  bad  weather 
from  the  ist  June,  when  she  left  Colombo,  with  coal  on 
deck  to  avoid  calling  at  Aden,  which  coal  successfully 
got  into  the  bunkers  on  the  7th.  No  sights  were  obtain- 
able till  the  8th  June,  when  the  ship's  position  was 
ascertained,  and  she  struck  on  the  9th  at  2.30  a.m.,  in 
very  bad  weather  and  a  pitch-dark  night.  By  the 
afternoon  of  the  next  day  the  captain  had  his  leg  broken, 
and  was  washed  away,  and  the  survivors  remained 
aboard  for  seventeen  days,  being  rescued  on  the  26th 

The  P.  and  O.  Company  reached  Singapore  in  1844, 
when  the  first  contract  was  made  for  the  conveyance  of 
mails  to  China  via  Ceylon.  The  contract  was  for  140 
hours  from  Ceylon  to  Penang  and  4  s  hours  from  there 
to  Singapore,  and  the  first  mail  steamer  was  the  Lady 
Mary   Wood,  which  arrived  here  on  the  4th  August. 


The  service  was  monthly,  and  the  early  numbers  of  the 
Directories  contain  copies  of  the  contracts .  The  passage- 
money  was  then  £i6o,  including  transit  through  Egypt 
and  stewards'  fees.  Spottiswoode  and  Connolly  were  the 
first  P.  and  O.  agents.  But  in  1852  Captain  T.  Marshall 
was  the  P.  and  O.  agent,  and  he  gave  a  ball  in  the  recently 
completed  offices  at  New  Harbour,  in  honour  of  that 
and  of  the  opening  of  the  line  to  Australia,  the  first 
vessel  being  the  Chusan,  700  tons.  Next  year,  1853, 
the  mail  was  made  twice  a  month,  alternately  via  Galle 
and  Calcutta.  The  landmarks  of  the  property  at 
Teluk  Blanga  are  dated  1850.  The  local  agent  at 
Singapore  naturally  is  an  important  member  of  the 
commercial  community,  and  usually  is  stationed  here 
for  a  considerable  time.  Captain  James  Gardiner 
Jellicoe  (i860)  was  relieved  by  Mr.  J.  D.  Caldbeck  in 
1 87 1,  whom  Mr.  H.  W.  Geiger  succeeded  the  following 
year,  retiring  in  1 891 .  The  P.  and  O.  then,  and  for  many 
years  aftenvards,  had  its  own  pilot.  Under  Mr.  Geiger 
(1882-90)  the  passage  Gravesend  to  Singapore  was  £6S, 
**  including  all  canal  dues,"  but  the  passenger  Suez 
Canal  transit  was  by  rail. 

The  P.  and  O.  agents  in  Singapore  since  1875  are  as 
follows:  J.R.  Kellock(i875-7);  H.  W.  Geiger  (1878-83, 
1884-8);  D.  Low  (1883-4);  F.  G.  Davidson  (acting 
1889-90);  George  King  (1890-95);  Frank  Ritchie 
(1895-9)  ;  H.  I.  Chope  (i  899-1906)  ;  L.  S.  Lewis  (acting 
1906-7)  ;  H.  W.  Buckland  (1907  to  date).  Mr.  H.  L 
Chope  lost  his  life  as  the  result  of  a  carriage  accident 
near  Tanglin  Club  in  January  1906. 

The  present  steel  wharves  of  the  Company  were  con- 
structed in  1908,  and  the  railway  siding  on  the  Com- 
pany's property,  connecting  with  the  F.M.S.  railway 
system,  was  completed  in  191 5. 


Early  in  the  history  of  Singapore  the  question  of 
banking  facilities  was  mooted.  In  1833  the  first  pro- 
posal was  made  to  found  a  Singapore  bank,  with  a 


capital  of  $400,000,  but  nothing  came  of  this  proposal. 
Two  years  later  a  scheme  was  formulated  for  a  Singapore 
and  Ceylon  bank,  capital  ;£200,ooo,  to  be  limited  by 
charter.  This  scheme  was  also  abortive.  In  1837 
Syme  and  Co.  were  offering  advances  in  cash  to  nine- 
tenths  of  the  value  of  the  produce  conveyed  to  their 
agents  in  London.  John  Gemmill  did  private  banking 
business  in  1839. 

The  Union  Bank  of  Calcutta  opened  a  branch  in 
December  1840,  and  three  years  later-  appointed  a 
committee  of  three  merchants  to  assist  in  managing, 
but  the  Committee  was  objected  to,  as  it  would  mean 
the  disclosure  to  them  of  their  competitors'  business. 
Mr.  A.  G.  Paterson  came  here  to  open  the  branch.  This 
first  bank  made  advances  at  9  per  cent,  up  to  three- 
quarters  of  the  value  of  the  goods,  up  to  90  per  cent, 
(at  7  per  cent.)  on  bullion,  and  discount  on  bills  ranged 
from  8  to  10  per  cent.  This  bank  was  "  Registered  under 
the  Indian  Act." 

The  Oriental  Bank  branch  was  here  in  1846,  prior 
to  having  been  incorporated  by  Royal  Charter  on 
the  30th  August  1856.  It  continued  to  operate  in 
Singapore  till  1884,  when  it  stopped  payment. 

On  the  20th  December  1855  the  North- West  Bank 
of  India  (headquarters,  Calcutta)  opened  a  branch  at 
Singapore,  under  Mr.  David  Duff,  who  in  1859  became 
the  first  agent  of  the  Chartered  Bank  of  India,  Australia 
and  China  in  Singapore,  which  opened  on  the  19th 
February.  Several  of  the  most  influential  retired  Singa- 
pore merchants  were  connected  with  the  London 
Directorate,  including  Mr.  James  Fraser,  of  Maclaine, 
Fraser  and  Co.  (died  in  1872).  The  North- West  Bank 
withdrew.  The  offices  in  1 864  were  at  the  north  corner 
of  the  Square,  near  Prince's  Street. 

In  1859  there  were  many  banking  agencies.  Ker, 
Rawson  and  Co.  held  four  ;  the  Borneo  Co.  represented 
the  Government  of  Labuan  and  the  Rajah  of  Sarawak. 

The  branch  of  the  Mercantile  Bank  of  India,  London 
and  China  was  opened  in  1855  by  Mr.  Walter  Ormiston. 


(In  1842  Mr.  T.  O.  Crane  lived  where  the  Mercantile 
Bank  is  now.) 

The  New  Oriental  Bank,  which  took  up  the  business 
of  the  old  (Bank  Lama),  carried  on  till  June  1892,  when 
it  failed,  with  liabilities  $5,500,000. 

In  1864  there  were  four  banks  in  the  Square,  the 
Chartered  Mercantile,  the  Chartered,  the  Asiatic  Banking 
Corporation,  and  the  Oriental  Bank. 

Having  given  this  sketch  of  the  early  history  of 
banking  in  Singapore,  the  following  is  a  brief  account  of 
the  chief  banks  now  established  in  the  Straits : 

The  Chartered  Bank  of  India,  Australia  and 
China  was  incorporated  by  Royal  Charter,  on  the 
29th  December  1853,  with  a  capital  of  £644,000.  By  a 
supplemental  charter  dated  the  20th  July  1861,  the 
agency  then  existing  in  Singapore  was  converted  into 
a  branch,  with  authority  from  Her  Majesty's  Treasury 
to  establish  branches  at  Penang  and  Malacca,  and  to 
issue  notes  in  the  three  Settlements.  On  the  3rd  Novem- 
ber 1863  the  capital  was  fixed  at  ;£8oo,ooo.  A  second 
supplemental  charter  authorised  the  capital  to  be 
increased  to  ;^2,ooo,ooo,  subject  to  the  approval  of 
H.M.  Treasury.  On  the  29th  December  1884  the 
charter  was  renewed.  Some  of  the  well-known  managers 
in  the  Straits  have  been  R.  I.  Harper  (1871),  T.  Neave, 
T.  H.  Whitehead  (1882),  W.  Dougal  (who  married  a 
daughter  of  Dr.  J.  H.  Robertson,  of  Singapore),  1883, 
and  Mr.  J.  C.  Budd.  In  1884  the  present  Chartered 
Bank  House  at  Cairn  Hill  was  built.  Since  then,  among 
the  managers  have  been  Mr.  W.  H.  Frizell,  Mr.  E.  M. 
Janion  (1910),  Mr.  M.  Morrison  (191 2),  and  Mr.  J.  Greig 
(191 5-1 8).  The  Bank  has  had  its  office  in  three  build- 
ings within  the  memory  of  living  man  :  corner  of  Prince's 
Street  and  the  Square,  corner  of  Flint  Street  and 
Battery  Road  (first  occupied  the  5th  February  1895),  and 
now  corner  of  Bonham  Street  and  Battery  Road,  the 
last  two  buildings  being  constructed  to  its  order. 

The  Mercantile  Bank  of  India,  London  and 
China  existed  prior  to  1857  ^^  Bombay,  but  in   that 


year  a  Royal  Charter  was  obtained,  and  the  Bank  took 
the  name  of  the  Chartered  Mercantile  Bank  of  India, 
London  and  China.  In  October  1892  the  Bank  was 
voluntarily  liquidated,  and  was  reconstructed  under  the 
name  of  the  Mercantile  Bank  of  India.  The  branch 
in  Malacca,  the  only  bank  in  the  old  Settlement  for 
many  years,  was  closed  in  1893.  Mr.  James  Davidson 
was  Manager  in  1864.  The  best-known  name  in  con- 
nection with  the  Mercantile  Bank,  however,  is  Mr. 
G.  S.  Murray  (now  Sir  George  Murray),  who  succeeded 
Mr.  F.  C.  Bishop,  reigned  many  years  in  Singapore 
(knighted  in  1906),  made  money  at  the  beginning  of 
the  rubber  boom,  in  connection  with  W.  W.  Bailey 
and  H.  Payne  Gallwey,  and  was  of  invaluable  assistance 
to  the  Government  in  its  difficult  task  of  a  note  issue 
and  of  establishing  a  gold  standard.  Sir  George  Murray 
married  Miss  Dennys,  daughter  of  Dr.  N.  B.  Dennys, 
a  man  of  singular  ability  and  zeal  in  collecting  facts 
connected  with  the  Far  East  in  1880-94.  (In  1872 
the  banks  were  badly  let  in  by  the  firm  of  Joshua  Bros., 
who  caused  a  loss  of  $400,000  by  the  manipulation  of 
opium  import  certificates.  A  run  on  all  the  banks 
took  place  in  November  1872,  in  consequence  of  the 
failure  of  the  firm.)  Mr.  A.  R.  Linton,  who  was  Acting 
Manager  in  19 10,  returned  in  191 8. 

The  Hongkong  and  Shanghai  Banking  Corpora- 
tion was  incorporated  under  Ordinance  5  of  1866 
(Hongkong),  and  in  1 871  Boustead  &  Co.  were  the  agents. 
In  that  year  Mr.  T.  Jackson  (afterwards  Sir  Thomas 
Jackson)  was  agent  at  Yokohama,  and  Mr.  Herbert 
Cope,  who  was  afterwards  agent  in  Singapore,  was  at 
Hankow.  The  Bank  has  achieved  remarkable  success, 
its  projectors  wisely  placing  the  headquarters  at  Hong- 
kong. The  circumstances  of  the  foundation  were 
exceptionally  favourable.  Although  five  other  banks 
had  branches  in  Hongkong,  they  appealed  but  slightly 
to  local  sentiment.  The  success  of  the  new  venture 
was  something  undreamt  of  in  Colonial  history.  The 
original  shares  of  $100  rose  rapidly  within  a  few  months 


to  27  per  cent,  premium,  and  within  five  years,  although 
large  dividends  had  been  declared,  the  reserve  fund 
amounted  to  half  a  million  of  dollars.  In  1866  the 
Bank  received  a  check  by  the  failure  of  Dent  and  Co., 
the  head  of  which  was  a  director  of  the  Bank.  A  year 
or  two  later  large  advances  to  the  Indo-Chinese  Sugar 
Co.  had  worse  results,  and  the  Bank  for  the  first  time 
failed  to  pay  a  half-yearly  dividend.  But  the  earning 
capacity  of  the  Corporation  was  so  enormous  that  the 
former  influential  position  was  soon  recovered.  The 
Bank  came  to  Singapore  in  1877,  and  was  incorporated 
that  year  in  the  Straits  Settlements.  The  offices  were 
in  Collyer  Quay,  where  Donaldson  and  Burkinshaw's 
office  is  now.  In  September  1890  the  Bank  purchased 
its  present  fine  site,  opposite  the  Singapore  Club,  from 
the  Eraser  Estate,  the  premises  pulled  down  including 
those  occupied  by  Messrs.  A.  L.  Johnston  and  Co.  and 
Robinsonand  Co., and  the  new  building  being  constructed 
under  the  supervision  of  Messrs.  Swan  and  Maclaren, 
who  made  use  of  many  of  the  old  rails  of  the  first  Tram- 
way Company  in  constructing  the  vaults  below.  Some 
of  the  Managers  have  been  Mr.  J.  P.  Wade  Gardner, 
Mr.  G.  W.  Butt,  Mr.  J.  C.  Nicholson,  Mr.  T.  S.  Baker, 
and  now  Mr.  J.  C.  Peter. 

In  1898  two  ingenious  Germans  named  Grosse  and 
Schultze  conceived  the  idea  of  importing  forged  Hong- 
kong Bank  notes.  They  were  arrested  on  the  Preussen 
with  $221,000,  and  later  were  duly  convicted. 

In  the  twentieth  century  there  has  been  a  great 
development  of  the  banking  facihties  in  Singapore.  The 
Nederlandsch  Indische  Bank  (N.I.  Commercial  Bank) 
opened  on  ist  June  1901.  The  Singapore  branch  of 
the  Banque  de  ITndo-Chine  was  established  in  1904  to 
give  financial  support  to  French  enterprise  in  the  Straits 
and  Malaya.  The  Bank  of  Taiwan,  created  originally 
to  serve  as  a  State  Bank  for  Taiwan  (Formosa),  opened 
its  Singapore  branch  on  the  2nd  September  191 2.  The 
Sze  Hai  Tong  Bank,  a  Chinese  enterprise,  was  founded 
in   1907.     In   1908  there  were  nine  banking  establish- 


ments.  The  Chinese  Commercial  Bank  came  into 
existence  in  191 2. 

A  private  enterprise  called  the  Straits  Banking  Co. 
had  a  very  brief  life  in  191 4.  The  Kwong  Yik  Bank 
was  also  formed  in  1903,  but  its  liquidation  had  to  be 
arranged  for  with  the  aid  of  Government. 

Nederlandsch  Indische  Handelsbank. — ^This  is 
an  offshoot  of  the  Algemeene  Maatschappij  voor  Handel 
en  Nijverheid,  established  at  Amsterdam  in  April  1863. 
The  Directors  early  established  a  head  agency  in  Batavia 
on  the  15  th  March  1864,  with  an  agency  at  Soerabaya 
and  in  Samarang  the  following  year.  It  had  many 
difficulties  to  contend  with,  among  them  the  liquidation 
of  the  parent  Algemeene  Maatschappij,  and  the  bad 
year  1883,  when  all  produce,  and  especially  sugar, 
greatly  decreased;  but  with  the  formation  of  the  N.I. 
Landbouw  Maatschappij  the  Bank  entered  upon  a 
new  lease  of  life.  An  agency  was  opened  in  Singapore 
in  1 90 1,  and  at  Hongkong  in  1906.  The  Managers  of 
the  Bank  in  Singapore  have  been  R.  A.  van  Santen 
(1901-3),  P.  Huga  (1903-9),  J-  T.  Lohmann  (1909-10), 
W.  E.  van  Heukelom  (1910-12),  C.  Woldringh  (1912-14), 
G.  H.  Theunissen  (1914-16),  E.  J.  H.  van  Delden 
(1916-18)  and  W.  J.  de  Graan  (1918). 

The  International  Banking  Corporation,  which 
is  closely  affiliated  with  the  National  City  Bank  of  New 
York,  one  of  the  largest  banks  in  the  world,  and  holding 
a  controlling  number  of  shares  in  the  International 
Banking  Corporation,  came  to  Singapore  in  1903,  and 
opened  at  No.  i  Prince's  Street,  the  General  Manager 
then  being  Mr.  J.  B.  Lee,  a  well-known  figure  in  the 
Straits,  who  was  in  charge  till  1908.  Mr.  H.  T.  S. 
Green,  at  one  time  Sub-Manager  of  the  Hongkong  and 
Shanghai  Bank  in  London,  succeeded,  and  is  still  General 
Manager  and  President.  The  first  Manager  of  the  Singa- 
pore branch  was  Mr.  Alwyn  Richards,  who  was  suc- 
ceeded by  Mr.  J.  L.  Lyon,  Mr.  J.  K.  Moir,  Mr.  W.  H. 
Rose  (all  formerly  of  the  Mercantile  Bank),  Mr.  L.  R. 
Macphail  (at  present  a  broker  in  Singapore),  Mr.  D.  G. 


Maclennan  (since  dead),  and  Mr.  Walter  Greig  (now  in 
the  Yokohama  branch).  Mr.  Rose  returned  as  Manager 
in  1917. 

The  Commercial  Firms 

Abrams  Motor  Hiring  and  Transport  Co. — One 
of  the  characters  of  Singapore  for  a  quarter  of  a  century 
was  Mr.  H .  Abrams.  ' '  Daddy  Abrams  ' '  was  the  founder 
of  Abrams 's  Horse  Repository  on  leaving  the  service 
of  H.H.  the  Sultan  of  Johore.  Singapore,  from  a  very 
early  date,  in  spite  of  a  limited  number  of  roads,  was  a 
great  place  for  horses  and  carriages,  at  first  imported. 
Madame  Pfeiffer,  who  made  a  tour  round  the  world, 
and  called  at  Singapore  in  1852,  specially  mentions  that 
"  the  whole  island  is  intersected  with  excellent  roads, 
of  which  those  skirting  the  sea-shore  are  most  frequented, 
where  handsome  carriages  and  horses  from  New  Holland, 
and  even  from  England,  are  to  be  seen."  The  firm  of 
Lambert  and  Co.  was  established  in  1865,  and  in  1880-90 
built  very  excellent  vehicles  at  their  factory  in  Orchard 
Road  (near  where  Kelly  and  Walsh's  printing  works 
now  stand),  with  imported  machinery  and  European 
coach-builders.  Mr.  Abrams,  an  exceedingly  good  judge 
of  a  horse  and  a  shrewd  business  man,  withal  a  most 
genial  character,  was  the  leading  horse-dealer  and 
trainer,  as  well  as  a  fine  jockey  in  his  younger  days. 
Mr.  J.  E.  Elphick  and  Mr.  P.  S.  Falshaw  were  veterinary 
surgeons  to  Abrams,  and  some  of  the  cleverest  jockeys 
had  their  early  or  late  training  under  "Daddy": 
E.  Calder,  W.  Dalian  (died  in  1901),  and  H.  S.  Kirwan. 
Residents  in  the  'Eighties  and  'Nineties  will  remember 
the  inimitable  Jinks,  a  right-hand  man  when  it  came 
to  breaking  horses  into  harness.  Daddy  used  to  keep 
a  famous  grey  called  "  Patent  Safety"  for  beginners; 
but  the  animal  belied  his  name  when  the  late  Arnot 
Reid,  Editor  of  the  Straits  Times,  fell  off  him  while 
sauntering  round  the  Esplanade.  Perhaps  it  was  the 
unaccustomed  "  high  horse  "  that  did  it.  Mr.  C.  W. 
Abrams  came  out  to  his  father  as  veterinary  surgeon 


about  1900.  A  rival  establishment,  the  Straits  Horse 
Repository  (i 885-1908),  under  W.  Dalian  (and  later 
Peter  Dalian)  and  C.  D.  H.  Currie  (an  early  veterinary 
surgeon  to  come  to  Singapore),  was  established.  But 
it  was  the  advent  of  the  motor-car  that  caused  the 
greatest  change  in  Abrams's,  and  led  to  the  formation 
of  Abrams's  Motor  Hiring  and  Transport  Co. 

Adamson,  Gilfillan  and  Co. 

GiLFiLLAN,  Wood  and  Co. — The  early  history  of  this 
firm  involves  men  very  well  known  in  the  Victorian 
age  of  the  Straits.  Mr.  H.  W.  Wood  came  to  Singapore 
in  1 85 1  to  join  Syme  and  Co.,  and  remained  with  that 
firm  till  1857,  when  he  joined  the  newly  formed  Borneo 
Co.,  of  which  he  was  in  1859a  manager,  with  Mr.  Samuel 
Gilfillan  and  Mr.  W.  Adamson  as  assistants.  In  the 
1867  Directory  Mr.  H.  W.  Wood,  Gaylang  House, 
Tanah  Merah  Road,  appears  in  the  list  of  residents, 
and  as  a  director  of  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.,  Ltd., 
and  Mr.  S.  Gilfillan  as  a  J.  P.  living  at  Siglap;  but  curiously 
no  reference  is  made  to  them  in  the  Mercantile  Directory. 
Next  year  Mr.  Wood  had  gone  to  live  at  Woodside, 
the  [sic]  Grange  Road  ;  he  appears  as  a  member  of  the 
Library  Committee,  Deputy  Chairman  of  the  Chamber  of 
Commerce,  Attorney  for  the  liquidator  of  the  Asiatic 
Banking  Corporation,  and  the  Resident  Partner  of  Gil- 
fillan, Wood  and  Co.,  established  1867,  Messrs.  Gilfillan 
and  Adamson  being  in  London,  and  James  Miller  being 
an  assistant,  the  branch  firm  being  Adamson,  Gilfillan 
and  Co.,  London.  This  seems  to  settle  without  doubt  that 
the  firm  was  established  in  1867.  Mr.  W.  Adamson 
first  appears  in  1856  as  an  assistant  in  McEwen  and  Co. 
(founded  in  1842),  of  which  firm  Mr.  Samuel  Gilfillan 
had  been  an  assistant  from  1854,  or  a  year  or  two 
earlier.  In  the  i860  Directory  a  pencilled  memo,  by 
the  late  J.  D.  Vaughan  mentions  Mr.  Adamson  as 
*'  Siam  " — two  years  previously  he  was  mentioned  as 
"  assistant  in  Borneo  Co.,  resident  at  Teluk  Blanga." 
The  history  of  Mr.  Adamson  is  almost  that  of  Singapore 


for  a  long  time.  In  March  1 862  he  proposed,  at  a  public 
meeting,  a  bridge  across  the  Singapore  River  near 
Ellenborough  Market.  He  was  a  promoter  of  the 
Singapore-Tanjong  Pagar  Railway  (1871 — a  resuscita- 
tion of  the  1865-6  plan),  and  after  his  retirement  in 
1 890  was  for  many  years  Chairman  of  the  Straits  Settle- 
ments Association.  Mr.  Gilfillan  retired  to  London 
in  1 88 1.  He  is  credited,  with  A.  T.  Carmichael,  of  the 
Chartered  Bank,  with  instituting  a  weekly  half-holiday, 
which  was  taken  sometimes  on  Saturdays,  sometimes, 
to  suit  the  mail,  on  Wednesdays.  Mr.  James  Sword 
was  a  partner  of  the  firm  in  1881,  and  Mr.  James  Miller, 
while  Mr.  G.  P.  Owen  was  an  assistant  a  year  previously. 
In  1895  the  Partners  were  S.  Gilfillan,  W.  Adamson, 
H.  W.  Wood  (London),  J.  Miller,  T.  E.  Earle,  G.  F. 
Adamson,  F.  W.  Barker,  John  Somerville,  Chas.  Mc- 
Arthur,  and  M.  E.  Plumpton  (a  great  "  soccer  "  man  at 
that  time).  The  growth  of  the  firm  may  be  judged 
from  the  fact  that  at  this  time  it  held  the  agencies  of 
the  Pacific  Mail,  Occident  and  Oriental  Steamship  Co., 
the  agency  of  the  P.  and  O.  Co.  at  Penang  (which  branch 
was  established  about  1884),  six  insurance  companies, 
the  China,  Japan  and  Straits  Bank,  and  the  Sungei 
Ujong  Railway.  In  1900  the  staff  included  W.  S. 
Coutts,  A.  J.  Macdonald,  H.  W.  Noon,  F.  L.  Tomhn, 
F.  C.  Muhlinghaus,  and  C.  F.  Minnitt  in  charge  of  the 
insurance  businesses.  The  Managers  in  1905  were  John 
Somerville  and  M.  E.  Plumpton,  the  latter  also  being 
here  with  Mr.  A.  J.  Campbell  Hart  in  19 10,  Mr.  F.  L. 
Tomhn,  the  present  Manager,  and  Mr.  H.  A.  Low,  the 
present  Penang  Manager,  signing  per  pro.  At  the  time  of 
the  outbreak  of  war  the  Directors  in  London  were  still 
Samuel  Gilfillan,  Sir  W.  Adamson,  C.M.G.,  H.  W.  Wood, 
R.  T.  Peake  ;  and  in  Singapore,  M.  E.  Plumpton; 
the  Managers :  London^,  Campbell  Hart ;  Singapore, 
F.  L.  Tomlin  ;  Penang,  H.  A.  Low  ;  twelve  European 
assistants,  and  three  in  charge  of  insurance  work  ; 
seven  steamship  agencies,  nine  insurance,  and  numerous 
general  and  commercial  agencies.     The  Company  was 

F.   W.   BARKER   AND   CO.  183 

registered  on  the  6th  October  1904,  and  then  assumed  the 
name  of  Adamson,  Gilfillan  and  Co. 

Adelphi  Hotel.— This  was  first  estabhshed  in  1863 
in  the  building  in  Coleman  Street  now  known  as  the 
Burlington,  and  in  the  'Seventies  the  Proprietor  was 
A.  Puhlmann,  his  widow  subsequently  carrying  on  the 
business  to  the  late  'Eighties.  The  big  building  now 
occupied  was  built  on  the  site  of  the  old  Hotel  de  la 
Paix,  and  at  the  corner  of  North  Bridge  Road  there 
was  a  concert  and  dancing  hall — the  original  Tingel- 
tangel — owing  its  origin  to  a  Mr.  Finkelstein.  Later 
the  Tingel-tangel  was  removed  along  North  Bridge 
Road,  and  lasted  for  many  years  under  Austrian  control, 
there  being  a  very  decent  string  band,  the  lady-performers 
being  allowed  to  dance  with  visitors.  Sometimes 
rather  rowdy  scenes  occurred,  but  the  Tingel-tangel  was, 
on  the  whole,  very  well  conducted,  and  the  band  had 
outside  engagements,  as  at  the  Children's  Fete  of  the 
Queen  Victoria  Diamond  Jubilee  in  1897. 

Barker,  Arthur. — Mr.  A.  Barker  came  to  the  Straits 
in  1889,  and  has  carried  on  business  continuously  since. 
Mr.  H.  W.  Noon  (now  of  Guthrie  and  Co.,  Ltd.)  was  with 
the  firm  in  1905.  The  firm  is  now  Barker  and  Keng 
Chuan,  Mr.  Keng  Chuan  having  started  as  salesman  to 
Mr.  Barker  before  1895.  At  the  outbreak  of  war 
Barker  and  Co.  represented  in  Singapore  twenty-five 
business  concerns. 

Becher,  Louis  and  Co.  was  formed  in  1889  by  Mr. 
H.  M.  Becher,  Henry  Louis,  and  H.  Hamilton  Gunn,  with 
W.  F.  A.  Thomae  as  metallurgist.  They  were  the  agents 
of  Bentong  and  Kechau.  Like  most  mining  engineers, 
they  all  had  adventurous  lives.  H.  M.  Becher  was 
drowned  in  the  Pahang  River.  Mr.  Louis  is  now  a 
professor  in  England. 

Barker  and  Co.,  Ltd. — Mr.  F.  Wilson  Barker  came 
out  to  Messrs.  Gilfillan,  Wood  and  Co.  in  the  early 
'Nineties,  but  left  that  firm  and  started  business  under 
the  name  of  F.  W.  Barker  and  Co.  as  Accountant  and 
Estate  Agent  about  1902.  In  1904  Mr.  Lowther  Kemp, 


A.C.A.,  and  in  1905  Mr.  Oswald  Kimmel,  joined  him  as 
assistants.  Mr.  Lowther  Kemp  and  Mr.  Kimmel  took 
over  the  business  in  1909  when  Mr.  Barker  retired. 
The  firm  then  employed  four  assistants  and  represented 
twenty- two  companies.  In  19 14  the  partners  were 
Messrs.  W.  Lowther  Kemp,  O.  A.  Kimmel,  and  John 
Mitchell,  the  last  residing  in  Penang.  It  had  in  that 
year  five  chartered  accountants  among  its  nine  European 
assistants,  with  a  branch  at  Penang,  and  represented 
some  thirty-six  companies  at  its  Singapore  office.  Mr. 
O.  A.  Kimmel  died  in  191 7.  At  the  end  of  that  year 
the  concern  was  reorganised  as  a  private  limited  liability 
company,  comprising  its  Singapore  and  Penang  branches 
and  its  London  office. 

Barlow  and  Co. — ^The  firm  arose  out  of  W.  R.  Scott 
and  Co.,  which  was  estabhshed  in  1877,  though  really  it 
began  much  earlier.  Mr.  W.  R.  Scott  ( 1859)  was  a  clerk 
in  Shaw,  Whitehead  and  Co.,  itself  a  successor  to  Graham, 
Mackenzie  and  Co.  prior  to  1834.  W.  R.  Scott  married 
a  daughter  of  Captain  George  Julius  Dare,  a  well-known 
Singaporean,  who  was  here  in  the  'Forties  and  died  in 
London  in  1856.  In  1 864  W.  R.  Scott  became  a  partner 
of  William  MacDonald  and  Co.,  of  which  Mr.  Garlics 
Allinson  was  a  partner ;  and  Buckley  mentions  that  in 
1 866  he  had  a  fresh-water  swimming  bath  at  Abbotsford 
(Orchard  Road),  of  which  he  allowed  the  use  to  sub- 
scribers ;  but  it  was  very  little  used.  Of  the  firm  of 
W.  R.  Scott  and  Co.  the  note  for  1882  is  the  following 
constitution  :  W.  R.  Scott  (London)  ;  T.  S.  Thomson, 
per  pro.  ;  J.  M.  AlHnson  and  James  Muir.  In  1891 
W.  R.  Scott,  jun.,  had  been  added  as  an  assistant,  and 
the  firm  is  out  of  the  1895  Directory.  But  the  name 
of  Barlow  and  Co.  comes  in  with  Mr.  J.  M.  AlHnson, 
E.  Bramall,  A.  Booth,  T.  Black,  and  E.  F.  Salzmann, 
E.  Bramall  and  Black  being  still  here  in  19 10.  When 
the  War  started  the  staff  included  E.  Bramall  (Manager), 
G.  D.  Mackay,  L.  Hinnekindt,  F.  Blackwell,  and  H.  I. 
Jones.  The  agencies  of  the  firm  are  now  mostly  rubber, 
but  it  has  the  Compania  Trasatlantica  line  of  steamers. 


The  Borneo  Company,  Limited. — According  to 
Buckley  (p.  380)  the  firm  of  W.  R.  Paterson  and  Co. 
(1842)  led  to  McEwen  and  Co.,  and  so  to  the  Borneo  Co. 
An  autograph  note  by  Mr.  P.  W.  Auchincloss  gives 
the  following  account  of  the  commencement  of  the 
Company:  *'  McEwen  and  Co.  were  in  1851  the  suc- 
cessors of  Paterson  and  Co.,  and  in  1854  started  the 
Borneo  Co.,  with  their  London  agents  to  work  their 
interests  in  Sarawak,  which  had  become  too  important 
for  a  private  firm.  The  wharves  at  Teluk  Blanga 
were  initiated  by  Mr.  John  Harvey  in  the  days  of 
McEwen  and  Co.,  early  in  1856,  and  were  transferred  with 
their  other  property  to  the  Borneo  Co.  In  1 854  McEwen 
and  Co.  had  among  its  clerks  the  gentlemen  with  the 
familiar  names  of  S.  Gilfillan  and  George  Armstrong. 
Three  years  later  Mr.  William  Adamson  was  in  the  firm, 
and  on  the  31st  July  1851  the  Borneo  Co.,  Ltd.,  was 
established  in  Singapore.  Mr.  John  Harvey  was 
Managing  Director  in  the  East,  Mr.  John  Black  Manager 
at  Batavia,  and  Mr.  Samuel  Gilfillan  at  Bangkok. 
McEwen  and  Co.  was  dissolved  in  the  previous  April." 
In  1859  Mr.  S.  Gilfillan  and  Mr.  H.  W.  Wood  were 
Managers  and  Mr.  C.  E.  Crane  a  clerk.  In  i860  Gil- 
fillan and  Auchincloss  were  managing,  and  Mr.  W. 
Adamson  in  1862,  among  the  clerks  being  Messrs. 
Tidman,Mulholland,  andCrum.  In  1 863  both  Mr. Gilfillan 
and  Mr.  Adamson  were  in  Singapore.  In  1868  Mr. 
John  Harvey  was  Managing  Director,  Mr.  William 
Martin  Manager,  and  at  the  Singapore  Branch 
Herbert  Buchanan  and  William  Mulholland  signed 
per  pro.  The  branches  established  were  at  Man- 
chester, Calcutta,  Singapore,  Batavia,  Hongkong, 
Shanghai,  Bangkok,  and  Sarawak,  and  among  the 
agencies  held  by  the  Company  were  H.M.  Govern- 
ment of  Labuan,  Standard  Life,  North  China  and 
Norwich  Union  Assurance  Companies.  Mr.  Mulholland 
then  lived  at  Ardmore.  Three  years  later  we  come  upon 
the  name  of  Andrew  Currie  as  an  assistant,  while 
A.  W.  Neubronner  and  J.  L.  Neubronner  were  clerks. 


These  three  names  appeared  for  many  years  in  the  firm — 
perhaps  of  all  Companies  the  Borneo  Co.  has  most  had 
the  knack  of  keeping  its  employees.  Mr.  Currie  was  a 
member  of  the  Legislative  Council  before  1880,  and  he 
lived  then  at  Neidpath.  He  remained  Manager  till 
1 89 1,  being  relieved  by  an  equally  well-known  and 
respected  public  man,  Mr.  C.  Sugden,  who  had  then 
been  ten  years  in  the  firm,  his  contemporaries  being 
Mr.  W.  A.  Cadell,  Mr.  St.  V.  B.  Down  ( 1 884),  and  Mr.  J.  D. 
Ross,  jun.  ( 1 888).  The  firm  had  developed.  Among  its 
agencies  were  the  National  Bank  of  Scotland,  Nobel's 
Explosives,  the  Russian  Volunteer  Fleet — then  regularly 
calling  in  the  most  princely  style  on  the  journey  from 
Odessa  to  Vladivostock — and  the  National  Bank  of 
India.  But  as  long  ago  as  1871  the  biggest  ship  in  the 
harbour,  the  William  Cory,  was  consigned  to  the  Borneo 
Co.  Curiously,  this  is  the  only  company  in  the  Directory 
of  1857  to  which  is  attached  the  word  "  Limited."  In 
1900  the  staff  included  C.  Sugden,  W.  A.  Cadell 
(Managers),  St.  V.  B.  Down  {per  pro.) ^  F.  Hilton  (from 
1890),  W.  Patchitt,  C.  J.  Davies,  J.  Denniston,  F.  C. 
Wreford,  E.  G.  Hartnell,  and  W.  A.  Darke.  Mr.  Sugden 
had  retired  before  19 10,  leaving  behind  him  the  memory 
of  a  good  business  man,  a  keen  sportsman,  and  a  good 
friend.  Under  him  the  Company  here  had  extended  its 
business  to  cover  nine  insurance  companies,  three  banks, 
and  four  lines  of  steamers,  besides  its  own  considerable 
trade.  Mr.  W.  Patchitt  succeeded  him,  and  now  Mr. 
John  Denniston.  At  the  outbreak  of  war  there  were 
seventeen  Europeans  in  the  firm,  looking  after  the 
business  and  its  sixteen  agencies. 

Behr  and  Co.  was  founded  before  1895,  its  partners 
in  that  year  being  Meyer  Behr  (London),  and  Sigismund 
Behr,  who  was  then  absent.  Mr.  F.  H.  Pearce,  Mr.  S. 
Rosenbaum,  and  Mr.  L.  Hoefeld  have  at  times  looked 
after  the  affairs  of  the  Company.  Mr.  Traub  was  a 
partner  in  191 4. 

D.  Brandt  and  Co.  goes  back  to  the  early  'Eighties, 
the  partners  then  being  D.  Brandt,  H.  Muhlinghaus, 


and  H.  Brinckman.  G.  Fertile  and  van  der  Pals  carried 
on  the  firm,  and  later  R.  Engler  and  H.  Windrath. 
In  1895  R-  van  Pustau  and  the  brothers  G.  and  J. 
Schudel  were  in  the  firm. 

Brauss  and  Co.,  H.  Brauss,  G.  Wolber,  and  H. 
Renter  on  the  staff,  was  in  full  swing  in  1895.  The 
firm  ceased  to  exist  by  19 10. 

Joseph  Bastiani  was  established  here  in  1873,  and 
for  many  years  carried  on  the  business  of  pineapple 
preserving.  The  firm  had  ceased  to  exist  in  1905,  but 
Mr.  V.  Clumeck,  who  was  in  it  in  1891,  is  still  in  Singa- 

Behn,  Meyer  and  Co. — This  great  German  firm  was 
established  in  1840,  in  November  of  that  year  Mr. 
August  Behn  and  Mr.  V.  Lorenz  Meyer  commencing 
business  and  remaining  partners  till  1850,  when  Mr. 
F.  A.  Schreiber,  who  had  joined  as  a  clerk,  became  a 
partner.  In  that  year  also  Mr.  V.  L.  Meyer  apparently 
went  out.  In  1852  Arnold  Otto  Meyer  was  a  partner, 
and  in  1890  that  gentleman  and  his  son,  Edward  Lorenz 
Meyer,  presented  a  service  of  communion  plate  to 
St.  Andrew's  Cathedral  as  "  a  thank-offering  of  the  good- 
will and  prosperity  experienced  by  the  House  of  Behn, 
Meyer  &  Co.  during  fifty  years."  Mr.  A.  O.  Meyer  used 
to  sing  in  the  choir.  Mr.  T.  A.  Behn  was  a  Municipal 
Commissioner  in  1 8  5 1 .  He  retired  from  the  firm  in  1857, 
and  gave  $500  each  to  the  Sailors'  Home,  Tan Tock  Seng 
Hospital, Mr.  Keasberry's  Malay  School, and  the  Seamen's 
Hospital,  and  died  in  London  in  1 9 1 3 .  In  1 868  the  part- 
ners were  Arnold  Otto  Meyer,  Ferdinand  von  der  Heyde, 
and  Oscar  Mooyer,  the  first  and  last  being  marked 
^'  in  Europe."  The  Company  then  had  twelve  agencies, 
mostly  insurance  companies.  The  firm  was  a  member 
of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  and  Exchange,  and  Mr. 
Mooyer  was  on  the  Committee  for  1871,  the  firm's  staff 
then  mustering  six  Europeans,  besides  O.  Mooyer  and 
Caspar  Ghnz.  The  latter  was  Vice-President  of  the 
Teutonia  Club  (established  1856),  and  lived  at  Sans- 
souci,  River  Valley   Road.     J.   Lutyens,  a  junior,  had 


risen  to  be  Manager  in  1882,  and  among  his  assistants 
were  Otto  Muhry  and  W.  Edelmann,  who  afterwards 
became  Managers,  for  it  was  a  rule  of  the  firm  that  no 
man  remained  a  manager  for  more  than  five  years — 
if  he  had  not  made  a  private  fortune  in  that  time,  he  was 
not  enterprising  enough  for  the  firm.  In  1895  the  Com- 
pany had  fourteen  agencies,  twenty-seven  insurance  com- 
panies, and  two  agencies  for  the  classification  of  steam 
vessels.  In  that  year  A.  Laspe  became  a  Partner  and 
F.  H.  Witthoeft  was  Manager.  When  he  retired  in  1900 
there  were  twenty-six  Europeans  in  the  firm,  the  depart- 
ments of  which  were  :  Home  Shipping  (Hans  Becker  and 
A.  G.  Faber)  and  Coast  Shipping  (C.  Eckhardt  and 
A.  Diehn).  Hans  Becker  was  Manager  in  19 10,  but 
retired  and  died  in  October  191 3.  A.  G.  Faber  was  then 
at  Penang,  and  A.  Diehn  at  Singapore.  The  fortunes  of 
these  two  gentlemen  during  the  War  must  be  told  by 
others.  The  Directory  account  of  the  constitution  of 
the  firm  just  before  the  outbreak  of  the  Great  War  tells 
its  own  story.  There  were  six  Directors,  and  E.  Lehren- 
krausz.  Secretary.  He  will  be  remembered  as  a  fine 
vocalist.  In  the  General  Office,  Bank,  and  Produce  were 
five  Europeans  ;  in  the  Home  Shipping  (twelve  com- 
panies, including  three  British),  eight  Europeans ;  in  the 
Transport  Insurance  Department,  three ;  in  the  Import 
Department,  including  the  Potash  Syndicate,  three  ;  in 
the  N.D.L.  Co.,  four;  Nautical  and  Technical,  three; 
Hamburg-Amerika  Line,  one.  They  were  agents  for 
rice-mills,  engineering  companies,  and  estates.  They 
had  control  of  a  large  rattan  and  cane  business.  Thirty- 
six  insurance  companies  were  represented  by  Behn, 
Meyer  and  Co.  with  the  London  House,  Arnold  Otto 
Meyer  and  Co.  There  were  eleven  branches  in  the  Far 
East  alone,  the  Penang  branch  being  started  in  1890. 

Buyers  and  Riach.  Buyers  and  Robb. — The  first- 
named  firm  in  1 863  built  a  vessel  called  the  Singapore  for 
the  Netherlands  India  mail  line  of  Mr.  Cores  de  Vries, 
600  tons,  the  largest  vessel  constructed  in  Singapore 
at  that  time.     Buyers  and  Robb  in  1 867  had  a  shop  at 


Teluk  Ayer  (in  this  year  Mr.  Chas.  Wishart  was  Super- 
intending Shipwright  at  Cloughton's  Dock,  estabhshed 
1859  at  New  Harbour),  and  were  the  owners  of  Bon- 
Accord  Dock  at  Pulo  Brani  (built  1866).  This  dock 
existed  till  filled  in  by  the  Straits  Trading  Co.  in  the 
'Nineties.  Buyers  and  Robb  ceased  to  exist  about  1885. 
BousTEAD  AND  Co.  was  established  about  1827,  and 
became  Boustead,  Schwabe  and  Co.  on  the  ist  January 
1834.  The  Singapore  Chronicle  of  the  27th  March  1828 
mentions  :  "  arrived  per  British  ship  Hindustan  on  the 
13th  March  from  Liverpool,  E.  Boustead,  Esq.*'  The 
fine  barque  Eleanor,  Captain  Mactaggart,  200  tons,  was 
advertised  on  the  5th  December  1833,  "  for  freight  or 
charter,  apply  to  Edward  Boustead."  He  advertised  on 
the  2nd  January  next  year  that  Mr.  Gustav  Christian 
Schwabe  had  been  admitted  a  partner,  and  thefirm would 
be  called  Boustead,  Schwabe  and  Co.  Mr.  Edward  Bous- 
tead came  here  from  China  as  Manager  of  the  firm  of 
Robert  Wise  and  Co.  (so  Buckley  writes),  and  Mr.  Adam 
Sykes,  who  succeeded  him,  joined  Boustead,  Schwabe 
and  Co.  when  Wise's  was  closed  down  in  1837  or  1838. 
In  1843  Boustead,  Schwabe  and  Co.  opened  a  house  in 
China,  and  Mr.  Boustead  himself  took  charge  of  that,  Mr. 
Schwabe  (he  left  the  firm  in  1848,  and  died  in  Liverpool 
in  1896)  going  to  Liverpool  and  Adam  Sykes  being  in 
charge  in  Singapore.  Mr.  Edward  Boustead  was  sole 
partner  in  1 849,  and  retired  to  England  next  year,  never 
returning  to  Singapore.  Joseph  Wise  and  William 
Wardrop  Shaw  became  partners,  the  former  leaving  in 
1853.  In  1856  Archibald  Buchanan  Brown  was  added 
to  the  firm,  retiring  in  1867.  Jasper  Young  came  out 
in  1855,  became  a  partner  in  i860,  and  in  1888,  on  the 
death  of  the  founder  of  the  firm,  became  senior  partner. 
He  left  Singapore  in  1873,  and  died  in  1908,  leaving  two 
sons,  Arthur  and  J.  B.,  both  of  whom  afterwards  became 
partners.  The  title  of  the  firm  in  1867  was  Boustead 
and  Co.,  the  partners  being  Boustead,  Shaw,  George 
Lipscombe,  and  Jasper  Young,  assistants  being  J.  Stow 
Young  (left  in  1873),  Charles  Frohch,  Claude  J.  Morris, 


and  F.  W.  Mackie.  The  firm  evidently  showed  its 
independence,  for  in  1864  it  was  not  a  member  of  the 
Chamber  of  Commerce,  though  it  had  been  in  1856,  and 
had  taken  part  in  the  foundation  of  the  institution,  and 
of  course  joined  forces  with  the  rest  of  the  mercantile 
community.  Boustead's  was  against  the  levying  of 
duties  in  1836,  in  common  with  nearly  every  firm  in  the 
Colony,  and  Mr.  Edward  Boustead  was  one  of  the  Commit- 
tee appointed  to  draw  up  the  petition.  They  repeated 
the  protest  in  1857.  The  firm  was  interested  in  the  land 
settlement  and  in  cultivation.  It  also  took  a  leading 
part  in  the  establishment  of  steamer  communication 
with  Madras  in  1858.  In  1842  Mr.  Adam  Sykes  was  an 
original  subscriber  for  a  theatre.  Mr.  M.  F.  Davidson 
left  A.  L.  Johnston's  in  1863  to  join  Boustead 's,  and  later 
Farleigh  Armstrong  left  Armstrong  and  Co.,  the  latter 
becoming  a  partner  in  1874,  at  the  same  time  as 
Mr.  Thomas  Cuthbertson.  The  firm  prospered  after  the 
Transfer.  In  1882  the  partners  included  Thomas 
Cuthbertson  (still  alive  in  London)  and  John  R.  Cuthbert- 
son, both  very  musical,  strong  supporters  of  the  kirk, 
and  John  taking  a  keen  interest  in  racing.  In  that  year, 
also,  John  Finlayson,  H.  W.  Gunn,  and  A.  M.  Aitken  were 
in  Penang,  and  Robert  Craig,  W.  Greig,  and  W.  P.  Wad- 
dell  assistants.  The  Cuthbertsons  and  John  Finlayson 
carried  on  in  Singapore  well  into  the  'Nineties.  W.  A. 
Greig  was  per  pro.  in  1886,  D.  T.  Boyd  and  G.  Macbain 
assistants  in  1 888,  while  John  Dill  Ross,  jun.,  had  a  spell 
in  the  firm,  as  he  tells,  slightly  disguising  the  names,  in  his 
book  Sixty  Years'  Travel  and  Adventure  in  the  Far  East. 
The  steady  expansion  of  the  firm  is  shown  by  the  Direc- 
tories of  thirty  years  ago ;  it  held  five  insurance  companies, 
the  Glen  and  the  Gulf  Lines,  Netherlands  Indies  Steam 
Navigation  Co.,  Queensland  Royal  Mail,  and  the  Shire 
Line,  and  three  years  later  the  British  India,  the  Canadian 
Pacific,  the  Compagnie  Nationale,  the  West  Australian, 
and  the  Indo-China  Line  had  been  added,  with  two 
banks.  In  1895  in  the  service  of  the  firm  were  F.  E. 
Jago,  F.  D.  Mactaggart,  W.  Mackay,  W.  H.  Macgregor, 


E.  D.  Hewan,  V.  Gibbons,  J.  B.  Young,  F.  H.  Darke, 
D.  Ritchie,  F.  Y.  Blair,  and  Arthur  Darke.  The  partners 
of  the  firm  in  the  last  twenty-eight  years  have  been  : 

1 89 1.  Jasper  Young  (died  1908),  J.  Henderson 
(retired  1901,  since  dead),  T.  Cuthbertson  (retired 
191 1 ),  J.  R.  Cuthbertson  (1898,  since  dead), 
J.  Finlayson  (retired  1896,  died  1908). 

1893.     R-  Craig. 

1898.  W.  P.  Waddell,  R.  Yeats  (i9i7)>  W.  A. 
Greig(i9o8),  F.  E.  Jago  (1904). 

1 90 1 .     Arthur  Young. 

1903.     J.  B.  Young. 

1909. — E.  D.  Hewan,  D.  T.  Boyd  (i9i4)»  and  G. 
Macbain  (1914). 

191 5. — R.  J.  Addie. 

191 7. — ^V.  Gibbons. 

The  present  partners  are  A.  Young,  J.  B.  Young, 
W.  P.  Waddell,  H.  E.  Snagge,  E.  D.  Hewan  (London)  ; 
R.  J.  Addie,  V.  Gibbons,  F.  Y.  Blair  (Singapore)  ;  J.  C. 
Benson  (Penang). 

Brinkmann  and  Co.  were  established  here  in  1876, 
Mr.  J.  G.  Brinkmann,  late  of  Linton,  Cambridge,  opening 
the  firm  on  behalf  of  his  co-partners,  Mr.  Ignazius 
Hiltermann  and  Mr.  Theodore  Hiltermann,  who  were 
trading  in  Manchester  as  Hiltermann  Brothers.  Mr. 
J.  G.  Brinkmann  died  at  Linton  on  the  19th  December 
191 7.  The  firm  of  Hiltermann  Bros.,  Manchester,  was 
opened  in  1 8 54,  their  branch  office  in  Bradford,  Yorkshire, 
being  opened  at  a  later  date.  The  present  partners  are 
Messrs.  Charles  T.  and  Ernest  T.  Hiltermann,  of  Man- 
chester and  London,  sons  of  the  late  Mr.  Theodore 
Hiltermann.  The  London  firm  is  Brinkmann  and  Co., 
of  7  Mincing  Lane,  E.C.  3.  Their  present  Manager  in 
Singapore  is  Mr.  P.  Cunhffe,  who  came  out  in  1897  J 
Mr.  E.  A.  Brown  joined  in  1901,  leaving  in  191 8.  Mr. 
S.  Dunn  joined  the  firm  in  1904. 

Bell's  Asbestos,  Ltd.,  opened  their  office  in  Singa- 
pore in  1900,  the  first  representative  being  Mr.  F.  A. 


Caldbeck,  Macgregor  and  Co.  (London  1864)  has 
been  in  Singapore  since  1905.  Mr.  K.  A.  Stevens  was 
long  the  Manager  of  the  firm. 

Cameron,  John,  and  Cameron,  Dunlop  &  Co. — John 
Cameron  was  a  well-known  and  popular  resident  in 
Singapore  for  thirty  years.  He  was  a  master  mariner, 
trading  with  Australia,  and,  after  being  so  unfortunate 
as  to  lose  two  vessels,  he  settled  in  Singapore  in  1861, 
with  an  office  in  Raffles  Place.  He  became  Editor  of  the 
Straits  Times,  which  he  and  some  of  his  friends  bought. 
Afterwards,  with  Captain  E.  M.  Smith,  of  the  Tanjong 
Pagar  Dock  Co.,  he  became  Proprietor.  He  died  at 
Monk's  Hill,  in  Bukit  Timah  Road,  in  1881,  and  Mrs. 
Cameron  carried  on  the  firm  (which  Mr.  Charles  Dunlop 
had  joined)  till  1887.  One  of  Mrs.  Cameron's  daughters 
married  Mr.  James  MacRitchie,  Municipal  Engineer  ; 
another,  Mr.  Maclennan,  of  the  Hongkong  Bank,  and  a 
third,  Mr.  C.  D.  Harvey,  of  the  Borneo  Co. 

Commercial  Union  Assurance  Company,  Limited. — 
For  many  years  prior  to  1 894  the  Company  was  repre- 
sented in  Singapore  solely  by  the  firm  of  Gilfillan,  Wood 
and  Co.  (now  Adamson,  Gilfillan  and  Co.,  Ltd.),  and  in 
that  year  it  purchased  the  business  of  the  Straits  Fire 
Insurance  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  established  a  branch  (known  as 
the  Eastern  Branch)  in  the  Straits  Fire  Building,  Finlay- 
son  Green,  under  the  management  of  Mr.  S.  F.  Clark, 
who  had  been  in  the  service  of  that  Company.  Mr.  Clark 
died  in  Singapore  in  1899,  when  his  assistant,  Mr.  E.  J. 
Robertson,  was  given  charge,  and  the  branch  office  was 
removed  to  No.  6  Battery  Road,  next  but  one  to  the 
building  now  occupied  by  Messrs.  Guthrie  and  Co.,  Ltd. 
Mr.  Robertson  remained  in  charge  until  the  end  of  1902, 
when  he  resigned,  and  Mr.  C.  R.  S.  Walker  was  transferred 
to  Singapore  from  the  Company's  Madras  branch.  In 
1904  the  Company  purchased  the  building  at  the  corner 
of  Robinson  Road  and  Telegraph  Street,  which  it  now 
occupies.  Mr.  Walker  suffered  in  health  ;  he  was  trans- 
ferred in  1904  to  the  Company's  branch  in  South  Africa, 
and  the  control  of  the  Singapore  office  was  given  to 


Mr.  W.  A.  Sims,  in  whose  hands  it  has  since  remained. 
Mr.  Sims  was  formerly  at  the  head  office  of  the  Company 
for  some  years,  and  had  been  since  1900  an  assistant  at 
the  Hongkong  branch. 

Crane  Bros. — About  the  year  1826  Mr.  T.  O.  Crane, 
father  of  Mr.  H.  A.  and  Mr.  C.  E.  Crane,  and  the  founder 
of  the  family,  came  to  Singapore,  having  left  England 
with  the  intention  of  going  to  India,  but  being  wrecked 
off  the  coast  of  Spain  swam  to  shore,  where,  after  sub- 
sisting for  a  month  on  rats,  shell-fish,  and  shoe  leather,  he 
was  rescued  by  a  vessel  bound  for  Singapore.  From  the 
first  year  of  his  arrival  he  founded  the  firm  of  Crane  Bros., 
auctioneers  and  land  agents,  Mr.  W.  Crane  (his  partner 
and  brother)  being  at  that  time  in  Austraha.  Mr.  Crane 
was  successful  at  a  time  when  Raffles  Square  was  almost 
a  swamp  and  there  was  no  Esplanade  orTanjong  Pagar, 
and  he  died  in  1867.  The  goodwill  of  the  firm  was  in 
1855  handed  over  to  his  two  eldest  sons — he  had  fourteen 
children  in  all,  and  thirteen  of  them  were  alive  in  1902. 
The  third  son,  Mr.  C.  E.  Crane,  worked  in  the  firm  of 
Hooglandt  &  Co.,  and  the  Borneo  Co.,  and  as  Manager  of 
the  Grove  Estate.  He  retained  his  interest  in  Crane 
Bros,  till  1899,  but  also  started  the  Tampenis  Clearwater 
Dairy  Farm  in  1890,  which  he  carried  on  successfully  for 
five  or  six  years,  and  then  converted  it  into  a  limited 
liability  company.  Mr.  C.  E.  Crane  retired  to  England 
in  1 90 1.  He  had  seven  children,  one  of  them,  Mr.  C.  S. 
Crane,  having  been  Secretary  of  the  Straits  Trading  Co. 
His  brother,  Mr.  Arthur  Crane,  was  back  in  vSingapore 
in  191 7.  Henry  A.  Crane  carried  on  the  business  with 
his  sons  until  his  death. 

Derrick  and  Co.  dates  back  as  a  firm  of  accountants, 
secretaries,  and  auditors  to  1887,  but  Mr.  G.  A.  Derrick 
had  been  in  Singapore  since  the  late  'Seventies.  In  1900 
Mr.  F.  G.  Penny  was  an  assistant,  and  in  1905  Mr.  H.  R. 
Llewellyn  was  a  partner  in  the  firm,  which  then  had 
charge  of  the  interests  of  nine  companies  and  two 
agencies.  In  19 10  the  assistants  were  W.  P.  Plummer, 
C.  S.  Brison,  W.  E.  Rayner,  and  C.  L.  Duff  (who  left  in 


191 2).  Mr.  Plummer  became  a  partner  in  191 3,  and 
Messrs.  D.  J.  Ward,  G.  S.  Farebrother,  and  S.  H.  Moss 
had  joined.  The  firm  then  held  the  interests  of  nineteen 
companies.  Mr.  Derrick  retired  from  the  firm  in  191 5 
and  Mr.  Llewellyn  in  191 8.  The  present  partners  are 
W.  P.  Plummer,  D.  J.  Ward,  and  W.  E.  Rayner. 

C.  DupiRE  AND  Co.  was  established  before  1900,  the 
partners  being  Jules  and  Louis  Dupire.  Later  the 
title  of  the  firm  was  changed  to  Dupire  Bros.,  with 
Mr.  Paul  and  Mr.  Louis  as  partners. 

Edgar  and  Co.  was  established  in  1862,  and  in  1882 
the  senior  partners  were  S.  Edgar  and  John  S.  Sarkies. 
The  firm  is  now  Edgar  Bros.,  all  five  partners  having  the 
family  name. 

Fraser  and  Neave,  Ltd.,  goes  back  in  its  inception 
to  the  missionary  agencies  of  the  Rev.  B.  P.  Keasberry. 
That  great  pioneer  came  to  Singapore  in  1837,  having 
been  bornin  1 8 1 1  at  Hyderabad, his  father  being  Resident 
of  Tegal,  Java,  during  the  British  occupation.  The  year 
he  came  to  Singapore  he  had  married  an  American  lady, 
Miss  Charlotte  Parker,  of  Boston,  and  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Keasberry  came  to  Singapore  as  missionaries  to  the 
Malays  under  the  American  Board  of  Commissioners  for 
Foreign  Missions.  In  1839  Mr.  Keasberry  joined  the 
LondonMissionary  Society,  and  taught  printing  and  other 
things  in  a  small  school  at  Rochore.  In  1847  he  became 
a  self-supporting  missionary,  and  the  printing  establish- 
ment was  one  of  the  means  by  which  he  supported  his 
work.  Mrs.  Keasberry  died  in  1 875,  and  John  Fraser  and 
David  Chalmers  Neave  bought  the  printing  works,  then 
in  Battery  Road.  It  was  still  known  as  the  Mission 
Press  (established  1843),  and  then,  as  now,  the  Singapore 
and  Straits  Directory  was  an  important  publication 
of  the  firm.  In  1883  the  Singapore  and  Straits  Aerated 
Water  Co.  was  formed  by  Messrs.  Fraser  and  Neave. 
The  Managers  of  the  two  departments  in  1 886  were  T.  G. 
Scott  and  A.  Morrison,  who  each  remained  with  the  Com- 
pany for  nearly  thirty  years.  Fraser  and  Neave,  Ltd., 
was  formed  in   1898,   and   has  gone  on  increasing  its 


business  and  extending  its  branches  to  Penang,  Kuala 
Lumpur,  Bangkok,  Ipoh,  and  Malacca,  with  local  direc- 
tors at  Penang  and  Bangkok.  The  printing  works  and 
aerated  water  manufactory  were  removed  to  Tanjong 
Pagar  in  1903. 

Fraser  and  Gumming  was  the  branch  of  Mr.  John 
Eraser's  business  that  constructed  materially.  Mr.  J.  B. 
Gumming  was  associated  with  Mr.  Fraser  for  this  purpose. 
They  leased  the  Johore  Steam  Sawmills  from  Dato 
Meldrum  ;  they  established  brickworks  at  Balestier,  and 
they  built  a  number  of  fine  residential  houses  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Dalvey  Road — ^White  House,  Gree 
Hall,  and  others.  After  Mr.  J.  B.  Gumming's  death, 
while  bathing  at  a  seaside  residence,  Mr.  H.  P.  Bagley 
looked  after  the  interests  of  the  firm  as  a  partner. 

Greer,  H.  and  W.,  Ltd.,  first  appear  in  the  Directory 
in  1 9 10.  Mr.  Thomas  Sibary  was  in  charge  then,  and 
still  is  at  the  date  of  writing.  The  firm  is  closely  asso- 
ciated with  cycles,  rubber,  and  the  Dunlop  Rubber  Go. 
(Far  East). 

Guthrie  and  Go.  was  founded  in  1821  by  Alexander 
Guthrie  (Singapore)  and  James  Guthrie  (London).  In 
1823  Harrington  and  Guthrie  was  commenced,  Harring- 
ton being  the  seafaring  man,  but  the  partnership  lasted 
only  eight  months.  In  February  1824  Guthrie  and 
Glark  was  formed,  and  Mr.  Glark  continued  with  the  firm 
till  1833.  Buckley  tells  us  that  his  house  was  on  the 
present  site  of  the  Hotel  de  I'Europe.  Alexander 
Guthrie  remained  here  till  1847,  and  died  in  London  in 
1865.  He  was  a  man  who  took  a  high  position  for  his 
character  and  abilities.  The  name  and  the  fame  of  the 
firm  were  carried  on  by  Mr.  James  Guthrie,  a  nephew, 
who  arrived  in  January  1837  and  retired  in  1876,  dying 
at  Tunbridge  Wells  in  1900,  in  his  eighty-seventh  year. 
He  was  "  Sheriff  of  the  Incorporated  Settlement  "  in 
1 85 1 .  Both  of  them  signed  the  famous  letter  concerning 
the  Transfer  (Buckley,  p.  775).  Mr.  Thomas  Scott  arrived 
in  Singapore  on  the  7th  July  1851,  was  a  partner  in  the 
firm  for  forty-five  years,  and  died  in  Scotland  on  the  28th 


June  1 902.  He  was  one  of  the  "  fathers  "  of  Tanjong  Pagar, 
and  one  of  the  first  members  of  the  Legislative  Council,  on 
its  institution  in  1867.  Mr.  Thomas  Scott  married  the 
elder  daughter  of  Major  McNair,  and  his  son  is  Mr.  R.  F. 
McNair  Scott. 

The  names  of  these  three  great  men  of  the  earlier 
half-century  of  the  firm  appear  constantly  as  on  all 
public  bodies  and  communities.  A  Thomas  Scott 
seconded  the  resolution  (the  8th  February  1837)  which 
led  to  the  formation  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  (but 
he  was  not  Guthrie's  Thomas),  and  Alexander  Guthrie 
was  on  the  first  Committee  of  the  Chamber.  In  the 
'Forties  J.J.  Greenshields  was  in  the  firm,  and  in  Decem- 
ber 1849  "  bore  the  oil  "  used  in  the  Masonic  ceremony 
for  the  laying  of  the  foundation-stone  of  the  Horsburgh 
Light.  In  1858  he  drew  up  a  petition  against  the 
importations  of  more  convicts,  and  was  a  general 
objector  at  the  Transfer.  A  notable  point  about  Guthrie's 
in  the  early  days  was  the  long  period  of  partnership  and 
service  in  the  Straits  :  Alexander  and  James  Guthrie, 
James  Greenshields  (in  Singapore  in  1847  ^^d  still  here 
in  i860),  James  Watson,  Thomas  Scott,  John  Anderson 
(1876  to  date).  Mr.  Louis  R.  Glass  and  Mr.  Alexander 
Johnston  joined  the  firm  in  the  'Seventies,  and  the  list 
of  agencies  increased.  In  1876  Mr.  Guthrie  gave  $500 
to  found  a  Guthrie  scholarship  at  Tanjong  Pagar  Malay 
School,  and  in  1882  Mr.  Thomas  Scott  was  Deputy 
Chairman  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  and  Mr.  Louis 
Glass  was  in  London,  Mr.  John  Anderson  and  Mr.  Alex. 
Johnston  signing  the  firm  per  procuration,  both  of  these 
becoming  partners  in  1886,  among  the  assistants  being 
A.  H.  Raeburn,  A.  J.  Ross,  E.  Cameron,  and  C.  J.  Davies. 
The  firm  at  that  time  represented  only  three  planting 
companies,  Trafalgar,  Pakan  Bahroe,  and  London 
Sumatra ;  but  this  was  long  before  the  era  of  rubber 
companies.  Mr.  (now  Sir)  John  Anderson  directed  the 
firm  after  the  death  of  Mr.  Thomas  Scott,  and  remained 
in  Singapore  till  191 2.  In  1900  Mr.  A.  Hood  Begg  and 
Mr.  A.  E.  Baddeley  had  joined  the  firm,  which   had  a 


II.  196] 


West  Australia  branch  (Guthrie  and  Co.)  and  a  London 
branch  (Scott  and  Co.).  Mr.  W.  W.  Macmillan  was  in 
the  firm  for  a  time,  about  1905,  and  Mr.  R.  F.  McNair 
Scott,  Mr.  Thomas  Scott's  son,  came  out  to  Singapore 
for  a  short  time.  The  present  Managers,  A.  E.  Baddeley 
and  J.  Robertson,  signed  per  pro.  in  19 10,  since  when  the 
Scott  interests  have  withdrawn  from  the  firm.  Guthrie 
and  Co.  have  grown  tremendously  in  the  last  thirty  years. 
In  1888  their  agencies  included  the  Eastern  and  Austra- 
lian Steamship  Co.,  the  Castle  Line,  Trafalgar  and  Pakan 
Bahroe  Estates,  London  and  Westminster  Bank, 
Drummonds  Bankers,  and  Coutts  and  Co.  At  the  out- 
break of  war  the  firm  had  twenty-four  Government, 
banking,  insurance,  and  shipping  agencies,  and  over 
sixty  other  agencies.  The  Europeans  in  their  employ 
in  Singapore  were  thirty-seven  in  number. 

Geok  Teat  and  Co.  have  been  in  business  since  1868, 
according  to  one  Directory.  But  that  of  1 868  mentions 
Locke  Hong  Ghee  and  Co.  (late  Geok  Teat  and  Co.)  as 
having  been  established  in  1863.  Tay  Geok  Teat  ruled 
for  many  years,  and  died  quite  recently. 

Hartwig  and  Co.  goes  back  to  1864,  and  in  the  early 
'Eighties  the  partners  were  F.  von  Hartwig  and  H.  C. 
Verloop.     O.  Muhlenbein  came  in  in  1900. 

The  Hotel  de  l'Europe  (now  the  Europe  Hotel) 
was  estabhshed  in  1857,  on  the  site  it  now  occupies, 
and  in  that  year  had  the  description  "  Hotel  d 'Europe ; 
do.  de  Famille."  J.  Castelyns  seems  to  have  been  the 
original  proprietor,  but  by  the  'Seventies  he  had  been 
succeeded  by  A.  Becker,  whose  name  persists  into  the 
'Nineties.  The  whole  range  of  buildings  as  far  as 
Coleman  Street  was  occupied  as  "  bachelors'  "  quarters, 
the  blocks  being  for  families.  Few  of  the  old-world 
residents  of  Singapore  have  not  occupied  them  for  a 
longer  or  shorter  time.  W.  G.  St.  Clair  was  there  for 
perhaps  over  a  score  of  years,  his  triangle  being  the 
Hotel,  the  Club,  and  the  Office.  Mr.  John  Eraser  tried 
unsuccessfully  in  the  'Nineties  to  form  a  company  to 
build  a  new  hotel  on  the  same  site.     By  19 10  Mr.  N.  N. 


Adis  was  in  control  of  the  finances,  and  the  new  building 
passed  into  the  hands  of  a  company. 

Hammer  and  Co. — Mr.  W.  Hammer  and  Mr.  Hansen, 
Danish  gentlemen,  living  in  Singapore,  considered  that 
the  supplying  of  water  to  the  shipping  of  the  port 
should  prove  a  profitable  business,  and,  with  that 
object,  acquired  a  site  on  Blakan  Mati  and  constructed 
a  reservoir  thereon.  In  1 863  they  formed  a  partnership, 
Hammer  and  Co.,  starting  business  with  two  wooden 
steam-driven  water-boats  and  a  sailing  boat,  all  of 
thirty  tons  capacity.  The  two  former  were  fitted  with 
steam  pumps,  the  latter  with  a  hand  one.  The  offices 
were  situated  at  the  mouth  of  the  river.  The  Tanjong 
Pagar  Dock  Co.,  Ltd.,  had  no  water-mains  on  the 
wharves,  and  therefore  Messrs.  Hammer  and  Co.  supplied 
all  the  water  required. 

In  1872,  whilst  superintending  the  supply  of  water 
from  the  sailing  boat,  Mr.  Hammer  fell  into  the  hold, 
breaking  both  legs,  from  the  effects  of  which  he  died. 
Mr.  Tutein  then  j  oined  the  Company  as  Manager.  About 
this  time  Mr.  E.  Almeida  also  entered  the  water  business, 
leasing  a  small  reservoir  at  Teulk  Blanga  from  the 
Sultan  of  Johore.  The  two  concerns  arranged  to  retain 
their  respective  customers,  and  divide  any  outside 
orders  that  should  be  obtained.  In  1876  the  two 
amalgamated.  The  annual  supply  of  water  at  this 
time  amounted  to  20,000  tons.  In  1880  the  Tanjong 
Pagar  Dock  Co.,  Ltd.,  laid  their  water-mains,  and  Mr. 
Almeida,  becoming  nervous,  sold  his  shares  to  Messrs. 
Hartwig  and  Verloop,  who  were  fully  justified  in  their 
optimism,  and  so  successful  that  in  1888  the  Company 
constructed  its  first  steel  water-boat.  In  1884  Mr. 
Gaggino  formed  an  opposition  company,  having  a 
reservoir  at  Pulo  Bukom,  but,  after  three  years,  came 
into  a  working  agreement  with  Messrs.  Hammer  and  Co. 
In  1 89 1  Hammer  and  Co.  built  a  pier  near  Finlayson 
Green,  the  boats  being  filled  from  municipal  pipes. 
In  1894  one  of  Mr.  Gaggino 's  water-boats  was  wrecked, 
and  was  replaced  by  one  built  at  Tanjong  Rhu.     Cap- 


tain  D.  J.  Reek  became  Manager  of  the  Company  in 

1900,  and  the  supply  of  water  by  this  time  had  increased 
to  90,000  tons  per  annum.  In  1901  the  Company's 
reservoirs  were  enlarged  and  improved.  In  1902 
Singapore  experienced  a  severe  drought,  the  Company's 
reservoirs  ran  low,  and  the  Municipality  were  unable  to 
give  more  than  a  two-hour  service  per  day.  Arrange- 
ments were,  however,  made  to  receive  water  from  ships 
coming  from  Hongkong,  and  in  this  way  shipping  was 
supplied,  the  loss  being  borne  by  the  Company.  In 
order  to  avoid  further  shortage,  a  new  reservoir  was 
constructed  at  Pasir  Panjang,  the  Municipality  also 
enlarging  the  Impounding  Reservoir.  In  1909  the 
Government  built  a  pier  for  the  Company  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Singapore  River  on  Fullerton  Road,  re- 
placing that  situated  at  Finlayson  Green,  the  removal 
becoming  necessary  owing  to  the  alterations  for  the 
Teluk  Ayer  Reclamation.  In  19 10  Mr.  Verloop  retired, 
and  the  Company  became  a  limited  one. 

The  first  Directors  were  Captain  D.  J.  Reek,  Messrs. 
E.  F.  H.  Edlin,  and  H.  R.  Llewellyn.  In  191 3  Mr. 
Gaggino  sold  his  fleet  to  the  Company  in  return  for 

Howarth,Erskine  andCo.,Ltd. — ^Therewasan  Hon. 
J.J.  Erskine,  member  of  the  Council  at  Penang  in  1824, 
but  Samuel  Erskine,  who  was  associated  with  H.  Howarth 
in  establishing  this  well-known  engineering  firm,  came 
to  Singapore  in  the  late  'Seventies.^  In  1882  the  chief 
members  besides  Mr.  Erskine  were  R.  Anderson  and 
J.  J.  Macbean,  the  latter  being  Managing  Director  after- 
wards (1901).  Mr.  A.  Snodgrass  was  in  the  firm  in 
1888,  with  Mr.  A.  E.  Benzie.  Later  came  Mr.  G.  E.  V. 
Thomas  as  Electrical  Engineer,  and  Mr.  F.  Pollock,  who 
died  in  December  191 8.     Mr.  Benzie  was  Secretary  in 

1 90 1,  and  Mr.  Lemberger  joined  the  Company  in  1904, 
thirty-one  Europeans  being  then  employed.  The  Com- 
pany  was    reconstructed  in    1905,    when  the    General 

1  Howarth,  Lyon  and  Erskine  carried  on  business  for  some  time  till, 
in  1878,  J.  M.  Lyon  left  and  started  in  business  for  himself. 

II — 14 


Manager  was  Donald  MacDonald.  The  amalgamation 
with  Riley,  Hargreaves  and  Co.  took  place  in  191 2,  and 
the  two  concerns  were  merged  into  the  United  Engineers 

HuTTENBACH  Bros.  AND  Co.  was  formed  by  the  two 
brothers  Ludwig  and  August  in  1883 — Huttenbach, 
Liebert  and  Co.  in  Penang.  Mr.  August  Huttenbach, 
who  fought  in  the  Franco-German  War  of  1870,  became 
a  naturalised  British  subject,  and  was  for  many  years 
a  member  of  the  Legislative  Council.  Of  great  force  of 
character,  Mr.  Huttenbach  was  a  sturdy  debater,  with 
strong  views  on  currency,  trade,  and  the  rights  of  Penang. 
He  died  in  London  in  November  191 8.  His  son  is  a 
major  in  the  British  Army.  Mr.  J.  Heim  was  for  long 
Manager  of  the  firm  in  Singapore,  and  in  1886  Emil 
Huttenbach  was  also  in  Penang. 

Hamilton,  Gray  and  Co.  commenced  business  in  1 832, 
and  lasted  till  1886.  Among  its  partners  whose  names 
appear  in  the  old  records  were  Walter  and  William 
Hamilton,  G.  G.  Nichol,  Reginald  Padday  (1857),  and 
C.  H.  H.  Wilsone  (1863).  The  latter  was  on  the  original 
Committee  of  the  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.  In  1882  he 
was  still  a  member  of  the  firm,  and  A.  W.  Stiven  was  an 
assistant.     He  afterwards  joined  the  firm  of  Stiven  &  Co. 

HooGLANDT  &  Co.  was  Started  in  1859  or  i860  by  Jan 
Daniel  Hooglandt  and  Johann  Rudolf  Riedtmann.  It 
rapidly  rose  as  an  agency  for  many  Dutch  firms.  The 
senior  partner  had  retired  to  Amsterdam  in  1882,  and 
"  rulers  of  the  firm  "  since  then  have  been  W.  H. 
Diethelm  (who  afterwards  started  in  business  for  him- 
self in  Singapore),  W.  Stiefel,  Hoynck  van  Papendricht, 
W.  Naef,  G.  A.  Kesting,  J.  van  Lohuizen,  and  W.  E.  van 
Rijnbeck.  The  firm  had  charge  for  a  time  of  the 
interests  of  the  Netherlands  oil  industry  and  the  works 
at  Puloe  Samboe. 

Fischer,  Huber  and  Co.  lasted  for  about  five  years, 
1900-5.     Mr.  A.  Cadonau  was  the  leading  spirit. 

HoGAN  AND  Co.,  Ltd.,  was  also  a  short-lived  com- 
pany, from  1905  to  1 9 10. 

ai.exande;r  i^aurie  Johnston. 

n.  200] 

A   NOTABLE   FIRM  201 

A.  L.  Johnston  &  Co.  (1819-92). — The  founder  of  the 
firm  came  to  Singapore  in  1819,  and  the  portrait  of  Mr. 
Alexander  Lawrie  Johnston  appears  in  Buckley's  Anec- 
dotal History  J  in  which  book  the  notable  works  of  the 
chief  partners  of  the  firm,  A.  L.  Johnston,  C.  R.  Read, 
W.  H.  Read,  M.  F.  Davidson,  and  R.  B.  Read,  are  told 
in  detail.  Mr.  W.  H.  Read  was  born  in  1819,  and  died, 
in  his  ninetieth  year,  in  1908.  Barclay  Read  was  his 
cousin,  and  died  at  Yokohama,  on  the  27th  October, 
1884,  aged  56.  The  present  notice  is  to  carry  on  the 
history  of  the  firm,  so  well  told  by  Buckley,  since  1867, 
where  the  subsequent  careers  of  some  of  the  partners 
are  noted.  So  long  ago  as  1863  M.  F.  Davidson  left  the 
firm  and  joined  Boustead's.  W.  H.  Read  and  A.  L. 
Johnston  were  still  carrying  on  the  firm  in  1880,  and 
in  1 88 1  Mr.  W.  E.  Hooper  came  in,  and  in  1888  Mr. 
R.  J.  Gunn  and  H.  Brett,  the  latter  leaving  in  1 891 .  The 
premises  were  at  the  corner  of  Collyer  Quay,  where  the 
Hongkong  Bank  now  stands.  The  agencies  of  the  firm 
at  this  period  included  the  Russian  State  Bank,  Baring 
Bros.,  British  North  Borneo  Co.,  Comptoir  d'Escompte 
de  Paris,  Banque  de  ITndo-Chine,  Franco-Egyptienne 
Bank,  Sadong  Coal  Mines,  and  the  Sarawak  Govern- 
ment. Read  Bridge  commemorates  the  name  of  Mr. 
W.  H.  Read,  for  so  long  Consul  for  the  Netherlands  and 
District  Grand  Master  of  the  Eastern  Archipelago. 

Katz  Brothers  emerged  in  1865  from  the  firm  of 
Hieber,  Katz  and  Co.  (1864),  the  first  partners  being 
Mr.  H.  Katz  and  his  brother ;  the  latter  left  the  East  in 
1877,  when  Mr.  August  Huttenbach  joined  Mr.  H.  Katz. 
Other  partners  were  Mr.  Max  Behr,  who  died  in  1886, 
and  Mr.  Meyer  Behr,  who  withdrew  in  1888.  In  1897 
Katz  Brothers  became  a  limited  liability  company,  with 
a  capital  of  $1,000,000,  the  present  Resident  Directors 
of  which  are  Messrs.  G.  Gansloser,  J.  A.  Webster,  and 
G.  A.  Chaney.  The  fine  building  on  the  west  side  of 
the  Square,  surmounted  by  a  figure  of  Mercury,  was 
built  for  the  firm,  and  completed  in  191 2. 

The  Koninklijke  Paketvaart  Maatschappij  was 


founded  in  1890  as  a  result  of  combined  action  of  the 
"  Stoomvaart  Maatschappij  Nederland  "  and  "  Rotter- 
damsche  Lloyd,"  to  form  a  feeding  line  for  the  home 
steamers.  The  Company  started  business  with  thirteen 
steamers,  ranging  in  size  from  600  to  1,300  tons.  With 
these  thirteen  vessels,  thirteen  services  were  opened 
throughout  the  Dutch  East  Indian  Archipelago,  with 
about  eighty  ports  of  call.  The  Company's  fleet  consists 
now  of  ninety-two  vessels,  with  a  total  gross  tonnage  of 
1 56,1 83  tons,  running  on  fifty  different  services  with  about 
300  ports  of  call.  The  well-known  fast  steamers  Melchior 
Treub  and  Rumphius  maintain  a  regular  weekly  service 
with  Java  and  Sumatra,  and  ten  services  have  Singapore 
as  starting-point  tq  the  Dutch  East  Indies,  with  eighty- 
four  ports  of  call.  A  line  from  Penang  and  Singapore  to 
China  ports  was  opened  early  in  191 6.  The  agency  in 
Singapore  was  opened  in  the  same  year  as  the  foundation 
of  the  Company  ( 1 890),  under  the  management  of  Messrs. 
"  De  Scheeps  Agentuur,"  late  J.  Daendels.  In  1914  the 
K.P.M.  opened  its  own  office  at  2-3  CoUyer  Quay.  The 
regular  steamer  service  to  Singapore  has  developed 
enormously,  with  much  good  fortune  and  some  bad,  for 
the  Reyniersz  was  destroyed  by  fire  in  Singapore  on  the 
23rd  January  1907,  while  two  years  later  the  Djambi 
was  sunk  at  Tanjong  Pagar  as  a  result  of  collision  with 
the  Messageries  Maritimes  steamer  Polynesien. 

Kelly  and  Walsh,  Ltd.,  opened  their  Singapore 
branch  in  1889  under  Mr.  George  Brinkworth,  who  now 
represents  the  Company  in  London.  The  first  store  was 
in  Battery  Road.  The  printing  works  in  Orchard  Road 
were  built  in  1902,  and  Mr.  J.  E.  Tyler,  now  Government 
Printer,  was  in  charge  of  that  department  in  1905,  Mr. 
R.  W.  Chater  in  19 10,  when  Mr.  W.  J.  Mayson  was  in 
charge  of  the  firm's  business  here.  A  good  many  Eastern 
books  have  been  pubhshed  and  printed  by  Kelly  and 
Walsh,  probably  the  most  difficult  to  produce  being 
Wilkinson's  large  Malay  Dictionary. 

John  Little  and  Co.,  Ltd. — ^There  were  four  Littles 
originally.    Dr.    Robert,    John    Martin,  Matthew,    and 


Robert  Little,  all  closely  connected  with  Singapore. 
In  1845  Dr.  Robert  Little  and  Dr.  Oxley  called  atten- 
tion to  the  possibilities  of  gutta-percha.  Dr.  Little 
lived  for  thirty-five  years  at  Bonnygrass,  on  Institution 
Hill,  on  land  original^  bought  by  M.  J.  Martin  and 
Adam  Sykes  for  a  small  yearly  sum.  It  was  part  of 
the  land  granted  to  Raffles  Institution,  but  the  grant 
for  twenty-eight  acres  was  sold  in  1 844.  The  connection 
of  the  firm  with  Singapore  goes  back  farther  than  this, 
for  Alexander  Martin  came  here  with  Raffles,  and  died 
at  his  bungalow  in  Beach  Road  in  1831,  being  succeeded 
by  his  brother,  M.  J.  Martin,  who  retired  in  1836.  Dr. 
Robert  Little  succeeded  his  uncle,  this  Martin,  and  lived 
till  1888,  when  he  died  at  Blackheath.  He  arrived  on 
the  I  ith  August  1840,  and  lived  (1842)  at  the  Dispensary 
in  the  Square.  In  1846  he  was  one  of  the  founders  of 
the  Presbyterian  Church  ;  two  years  later  was  sworn  in 
as  Coroner;  in  1855  proposed  a  sanatorium  on  Gunong 
Pulai  in  Johore,  and  explored  the  place  as  one  of  a  party 
of  six.  He  was  one  of  the  original  subscribers  for  a 
theatre,  and  was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Library  in 
1844,  a  steward  at  St.  Andrew's  Ball  in  1845,  ^t  the 
New  Public  Hall,  the  Assembly  Rooms,  foot  of  Fort 
Canning.  On  the  27th  November  1846  a  meeting  was 
held  at  Little,  Cursetjee  and  Co.'s  godown  to  form  the 
Presbyterian  Church.  Dr.  Little  seconded  the  motion 
for  the  London  Missionary  Society  to  select  a  clergyman, 
and  one  from  any  of  the  Evangelistical  denominations 
of  Scotch  Presbyterians  would  be  cordially  received 
without  reference  to  his  particular  views  in  regard  to 
Church  government.  Dr.  Little  was  in  the  Chinese 
riots  of  1854,  and  helped  to  rout  a  party  of  "  rebels  "  at 
Gaylang  ;  in  the  same  year  he  was  on  the  Committee 
of  the  new  Town  Hall  and  of  the  Dalhousie  Obelisk, 
now  on  the  patch  of  green  near  Anderson's  Bridge,  its 
third  site.  He  was  a  strong  advocate  of  a  new  iron 
bridge  at  Kallang,  which  would  have  been  very  con- 
venient for  his  plantation  at  Siglap.  The  bridge,  how- 
ever, became  Elgin  Bridge,  widened  and  strengthened 


when  the  steam  tramways  were  introduced  in  the 
'Eighties.  He  was  also  one  of  the  founders  of  Tanjong 
Pagar  in  1866.  He  wrote  many  papers  in  Logan's 
Journal,  deahng  with  meteorology  ;  he  was  at  the 
famous  meeting  on  the  Transfer,  when  Harry  St.  George 
Ord,  Colonel  in  the  Army,  etc.,  "  stalked  in  without 
removing  his  hat,  and  sat  down  on  a  chair  on  the  dais 
without  taking  notice  of  anybody  "  ;  and  was  one  of 
the  first  members  of  the  Legislative  Council  in  1867. 
He  was  the  senior  member  of  Little  and  Robertson,  who 
established  a  dispensary  under  Robert  Jamie's  manage- 

John  Martin  Little  was  a  relative  of  F.  S.  Martin,  a 
store-keeper  and  auctioneer  in  1842,  which  business  in 
1 845  was  made  over  to  him  and  Mr.  Cursetjee  Fromerzee. 
Cursetjee  Fromerzee  was  the  son  of  Fromurzee  Sorabjee,- 
a  Parsee  merchant,  who  established  his  firm  in  1 840  and 
died  in  1849.  In  1853  the  partnership,  John  Martin 
Little  and  Cursetjee,  was  dissolved,  and  the  former  was 
joined  by  Matthew  Little,  and  thus  came  into  being  the 
firm  of  John  Little  and  Co.,  in  premises  on  the  same  site 
as  the  present  store.  The  limited  company  was  fgrmed 
in  1900.  J.  M.  Little  was  one  of  the  signatories  to  the 
petition  praying  for  the  Transfer  in  1867  ;  he  died  at 
Blackheath  in  1894.  Matthew  Little  left  in  1877,  ^^^ 
went  to  live  at  Hampstead. 

In  1882  the  members  and  assistants  included  A.  M. 
Martin,  C.  J.  F.  Banister,  S.  R.  Carr,  W.  Hutton,  E. 
Scott  Russell — the  last  three  had  already  been  here  for 
some  years,  as  had  D.  Maw.  Banister  dropped  out  before 
1886,  and  S.  R.  Carr  was  a  partner.  W.  Hutton  became 
a  partner  before  1889,  and  went  home  in  1903.  Scott 
Russell  remained  till  after  1905.  Mr.  F.  C.  Wreford  was 
in  the  firm  in  1895  J  in  1889  R.  Scoular  and  H.  G.  Diss, 
with  Alex.  Martin  and  W.  Martin,  C.  W.  Banks  and 
W.  G.  Blunn.  In  1905  the  firm  employed  twenty-five 
Europeans.  Five  years  later  S.  R.  Carr,  W.  Hutton,  and 
Scott  Russell  were  inthe  London  office,  those  in  Singapore 
being  R.  Little, C.  W.  Banks,  R.  Scoular,and  W.  G.  Blunn. 


At  the  outbreak  of  war  the  Directorate  in  Singapore  was 
R.  Scoular  (managing),  C.  W.  Banks  and  W.  G.  Blunn 
(on  leave),  E.  N.  Benjafield;  and  J.  T.  Hume  was  the 
Secretary.  The  later  members  and  the  employees  of  the 
firm  have  played  no  less  a  part  in  the  life  of  Singapore 
than  the  earlier.  S.  R.  Carr  was  a  keen  racing  man,  and 
as  "  Pendek  "  was  a  most  useful  member  of  the  Sporting 
Club.  Hutton  and  Scott  Russell  were  busy  rowing  men, 
and  kept  that  club  going  for  years.  R.  Scoular  was  one 
of ■  the  great  exponents  of  Association  football,  D.  Maw 
one  of  the  most  successful  shikaris  and  rifle-shots,  while 
junior  members  have  more  than  held  their  own  in  lawn 
tennis  and  other  forms  of  sport.  The  fine  new  godown 
was  opened  on  the  19th  September  19 10. 

J.  M.  Lyon  and  Co. — George  Lyon  came  to  Singapore 
in  i860,  and  appears  in  the  1868  Directory  as  G.  Lyon, 
Sandy  Point,  shipbuilder.  When  he  died,  in  July  1885, 
it  was  chronicled  that  with  his  brother  he  built  the  big 
iron  bridge  at  Kallang  and  the  Elgin  Bridge,  which  he 
pushed  bodily  across  the  river,  a  novel  feat  in  those  days. 
He  began  the  first  work  of  the  Dock  Co.  at  Tanjong 
Pagar  in  1 864,  and  at  the  Borneo  Wharf.  The  brother 
mentioned  we  believe  to  be  J.  M.  Lyon,  who  was 
estabhshed  here  in  1895,  where  he  was  known  as  "  the 
Laird."  James  Murchie  was  one  of  his  assistants,  and 
his  sons  Albert  and  Edward  were  with  him,  a  daughter 
marrying  A.  Mackay,  so  long  in  charge  of  the  Dispensary. 
Edward  Lyon  established  himself  as  a  cycle  manufacturer 
in  Battery  Road,  the  forerunner  of  the  Straits  Cycle 
Co.,  which  made  the  Laju  bicycle. 

Martin,  Dyce  and  Co.  was  one  of  the  old-established 
firms  of  Singapore,  being  formed  in  1 842,  out  of  the  firm  of 
Paterson  and  Co.,  by  George  Martin,  Charles  Carnie,  and 
Alexander  Dyce,  with  houses  at  Singapore,  Batavia,  and 
Manila.  In  1866,  in  Singapore  David  Roger  was  in 
charge — there  is  a  memorial  window  to  him  in  St. 
Andrew's  Cathedral,  died  the  i  ith  October  1867,  aged  37. 
In  1880  the  Managers  were  G.  A.  MacLaverty  and  J.  Y. 
Kennedy,  who  migrated  to  Penang,  and  there  founded 


the  firm  of  Kennedy  and  Co.  G.  A.  Derrick  and  John 
Wilson  were  assistants  in  1881,  the  Company  being  then 
the  Glen  agents.     The  firm  ceased  in  1885. 

W.  Mansfield  and  Co. — Walter  Mansfield  came  to 
Singapore  in  1 861 ,  and  was  in  business  as  a  ship  chandler 
(1864)  in  Collyer  Quay.  In  1868  the  members  of  the 
firm  were  Richard  Joseph  Wright  and  Walter  Mansfield. 
In  1872  the  partners  in  the  firm  were  Walter  Mansfield 
and  George  J.  Mansfield.  Previous  to  this  date  the 
Company  had  been  appointed  agents  for  The  Ocean 
Steam  Ship  Co.,  Ltd.  Mr.  Walter  Mansfield  died  in  1 873 
in  London,  and  Mr.  T.  C.  Bogaardt  subsequently  joined 
Mr.  G.  J.  Mansfield,  and  the  firm  opened  a  branch  in 
Penang,  under  the  style  of  Mansfield,  Bogaardt  and  Co., 
and  later  on  in  Sandakan  under  the  same  name.  Mr. 
G.  J.  Mansfield  retired  in  1886.  Later  Mr.  A.  E.  Turner 
became  a  partner  with  Mr.  T.  C.  Bogaardt,  and  took 
charge  of  the  Penang  ofiice,  Mr.  A.  P.  Adams  and  Mr. 
J.  E.  Romenij  being  assistants  in  Singapore.  In  1891 
Mr.  A.  E.  Turner  went  to  Sandakan.  In  1894  Mr.  T.  C. 
Bogaardt  retired  from  the  firm,  and  the  remaining  part- 
ners were  then  Mr.  A.  P.  Adams,  Mr.  J.  E.  Romenij,  and 
Mr.  J.  G.  Berkhuysen  (the  latter  stationed  at  Sandakan), 
Mr.  Edward  Anderson  being  an  assistant.  Mr.  Anderson 
was  made  a  partner  in  1899.  Amongst  the  assistants 
at  this  time  were  Mr.  W.  G.  Hennings,  Mr.  E.  R.  Weare, 
Mr.  P.  L.  WiUiams,  and  Mr.  A.  Jackson.  In  1902  Mr. 
A.  P.  Adams  retired,  the  Company  being  formed  into  a 
limited  liability  company  in  1903,  with  headquarters  in 
Liverpool,  the  first  Managers  being  Mr.  J.  E.  Romenij, 
Mr.  E.  Anderson,  and  Mr.  J.  G.  Berkhuysen.  In  1904 
W.  Mansfield  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  were  appointed  agents  for  the 
China  Mutual  Steam  Navigation  Co.,  Ltd., which  had  been 
acquired  by  Messrs.  Alfred  Holt  and  Co.  In  1907  Mr. 
Romenij  retired  from  the  firm,  and  Mr.  W.  G.  Hennings 
became  a  manager.  In  191 3  Mr.  J.  G.  Berkhuysen 
retired,  and  Mr.  P.  L.  Williams  was  appointed  a  manager 
in  191 5.  In  addition  to  acting  as  agents  for  the  Ocean 
Steam   Ship  Co.,   Ltd.,   and  the   China   Mutual  Steam 


Navigation  Co.,  Ltd.,  Mansfield  and  Co.  also  act  as 
agents  for  the  China  Navigation  Co.,  Ltd. 

Captain  F.  M.  Darke  was  connected  with  the  firm  as 
pilot  for  the  steamers  of  the  Ocean  Steam  Ship  Co.,  Ltd., 
for  a  period  of  over  thirty  years,  and  retired  in  1908. 

Maclaine,  Eraser  and  Co. — Mr.  E.  Maclaine  is  in 
the  list  of  merchants  resident  in  Singapore  given  in  the 
report  of  the  Resident  in  1824.  Mr.  D.  A.  Eraser  is 
among  the  original  subscribers  to  Rafiles  Institution, 
but  Mr.  James  Eraser  was  the  second  partner,  and  in  1 840 
he  bought  and  occupied  a  house  in  Kampong  Glam.  The 
firm  was  opened  in  1827,  James  Eraser  in  London,  Lewis 
Eraser  and  Gilbert  Angus  Bain  (left  in  1 8  54)  in  Singapore. 
L  P.  Cummingand  J.  B.  Cumming  (whose  son,  also  James 
Bannerman  Cumming,  was  a  partner  of  Eraser  and 
Cumming)  were  notable  members  of  Maclaine,  Eraser 
and  Co.,  to  which  Mr.  Charles  Dunlop  came  out  in  1857, 
becoming  a  partner  in  1864.  Mr.  Lewis  J.  Eraser  was 
a  partner  in  1880,  and  the  firm  dissolved  soon  after, 
having  brought  to  Singapore  many  notable  public  men., 

Mitsui  Bussan  Kaisha,  Ltd. — ^The  Singapore  branch 
of  this  great  Japanese  firm  came  to  Singapore  and  com- 
menced business  on  the  7th  July  1891,  and  in  1900  the 
Manager  was  Mr.  G.  Kawamura.  By  1905  the  firm  had 
so  extended  that  there  were  nine  assistants  (grown  five 
years  later  to  twelve),  under  Mr.  T.  Hayashi.  The  four 
coal-mines  represented  by  the  firm  at  its  inception  had 
increased  to  fifteen,  with  other  important  agencies,  and 
at  the  outbreak  of  war  Mr.  Ohmora,  the  Manager,  had 
fourteen  assistants. 

Meyer  Bros,  established  itself  in  Singapore  in  1873, 
the  three  brothers  ten  years  later  being  Reuben  and 
Elias  (Calcutta)  and  Manasseh  Meyer.  The  last  named 
has  been  continuously  here,  though  EHas  was  here  from 
1889  to  1 89 1.  Mr.  R.  Sassoon  was  with  the  firm  for 
many  years.     In  1900  Mr.  J.  A.  Meyer  was  an  assistant. 

James  Motion  and  Co. — Mr.  James  Motion  came  out 
to  W.  Huxtable,  but  commenced  business  for  himself 
before  1883,  ^^^  in  that  year  Mr.  W.  Lawson  joined  the 


business.  The  Jubilee  clock  at  Malacca  was  erected  by 
him  in  1885.  Mr.  D.  Maw,  who  was  originally  with 
Messrs.  John  Little  and  Co.,  was  in  the  firm  in  1895  as 
"  compass  adjuster."     In  19 10  Tie  was  sole  proprietor. 

William  McKerrow  and  Co. — Mr.  William  McKerrow 
was  an  assistant  in  John  Little  and  Co.  in  1868.  He 
shortly  afterwards  joined  Guthrie  and  Co.,  but  com- 
menced business  for  himself  before  1 880,  and  remained  in 
Singapore  for  many  years,  among  those  in  the  firm  being 
J.  Birrell,  D.  W.  Lovell,  G.  H.  D.  Bourne,  and,  later, 
H.  Freeman,  also  J.  Love  Montgomerie,  who  lost  his 
life  in  the  Mutiny.  The  firm  ceased  prior  to  19 10,  and 
Mr.  McKerrow  Was  associated  with  Paterson,  Simons  and 
Co.,  in  business  in  London,  till  he  died  in  191 8.  He 
was  a  keen  supporter  of  the  Scotch  kirk,  and  a  member 
of  the  Municipal  Commission  in  the  'Nineties,  from  which 
he  resigned  owing  to  a  disagreement  over  the  erection 
of  a  fire-engine  station  in  the  Square.  His  son  is  in 
Paterson,  Simons  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  in  Singapore. 

McAlister  and  Co.,  Ltd. — ^This  firm  was  founded  as 
McAlister  and  Company  in  1857,  ^^^  original  partners 
being  Alexander  McAlister  and  James  Parker  Niven, 
whilst  Ebenezer  McAlister  was  an  assistant  of  the 
firm.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  Company  to-day 
have  on  the  walls  of  their  offices  in  Singapore  repro- 
ductions of  photographs  of  both  Alexander  and  Ebenezer 
McAlister,  the  original  photographs  bearing  the  dates 
of  1868  and  1875  respectively.  A  great  fire  occurred 
in  McAlister 's  premises,  at  the  corner  of  Battery  Road 
and  Flint  Street,  on  the  31st  December  1864,  the  loss 
being  very  considerable,  as  the  fire-extinguishing 
organisation  at  the  time  appears  to  have  been  too 
small.  It  is  recorded  that  the  fire  engines  used  on 
that  occasion  were  two  small  hand-engines  from  the 
police,  one  from  Guthrie's,  one  from  the  convicts  at  the 
old  gaol,  and  one  from  H.M.S.  Perseus.  History  repeats 
itself,  and  McAlister's  was  burnt  out  again  twenty- 
nine  years  later,  in  1893.  In  the  'Eighties,  when 
Ebenezer  McAlister  was  still  in  Singapore,  the  partners 


of  the  firm,  which  had  grown  considerably  since  its 
inception,  were  C.  C.  N.  Glass  and  J.  S.  Neave,  a  brother 
of  D.  C.  Neave,  of  Fraser  and  Neave.  John  Muir  came 
into  the  firm  about  1883,  and  later  Frank  Warrack  left 
Messrs.  Paterson,  Simons  and  Co.  to  become  a  partner 
in  McAlister  and  Co.  Mr.  Warrack  had  as  a  co-partner 
Mr.  Alexander  Cumming,  and  they  were  later  joined 
by  Mr.  A.  H.  Stephens,  these  gentlemen  continuing 
actively  to  develop  the  business.  Mr.  Frank  Warrack 
retired  in  1903,  and  the  Company  then  became  incor- 
porated. Shortly  after  this  date  the  principal  interests 
of  the  business  were  acquired  by  Messrs.  Mcllwraith, 
McEacharn  and  Co.,  Pty.,  Ltd.,  London,  and  Mr.  A.  D. 
Allan  became  Managing  Director  in  Singapore,  to  be 
succeeded  by  Mr.  A.  Reid  in  19 16.  Since  Messrs. 
Mcllwraith,  McEacharn  and  Co.  became  interested  in 
the  Company  the  character  of  the  business  has  largely 
changed,  the  shipping,  coal,  and  export  departments  of 
the  business  being  very  greatly  developed.  The  Com- 
pany has  branch  houses  throughout  the  Peninsula, 
these  being  founded  as  follows  :  Penang  1898,  Ipoh 
1904,  Kuala  Lumpur  1906.  At  one  time  McAhster's 
did  a  great  business  with  Western  Australia  in  pearls 
and  pearl-shell,  and  their  pearl  auctions  used  to  be 
held  regularly  after  the  arrival  of  the  old  Western 
Australian  steamers,  such  as  the  Saladin,  the  Karakatta, 
and  the  Australind )  but  this  trade  is  now  a  thing  of  the 
past.  Having  an  unbroken  history  of  over  sixty-one 
years,  McAhster's  is  one  of  the  oldest  of  Singapore 
business  houses. 

Messageries  Maritimes. — ^The  parent  of  the  Mes- 
sageries  Maritimes  was  the  Messageries  Nationales, 
founded  about  1835  as  a  Government  line  of  mail 
steamers  to  the  Levant.  In  1852  a  separate  under- 
taking was  formed,  which  subsequently  (1871)  became 
the  present  Company.  The  first  steamer  to  arrive  in 
Singapore  was  the  Imperatrice^  on  the  1 8th  October  1 862, 
and  from  that  dates  the  establishment  of  the  Singapore 
agency  in   De  Souza's   Buildings   and   at   D 'Almeida's 


Pier.  The  Batavia  branch  was  inaugurated  in  1864. 
In  1 871  Paul  Brasier  was  agent  and  A.  C.  Byng  pilot. 
Captain  Byng  remained  for  many  years  the  senior  pilot 
in  Singapore,  and  lived  at  Bukit  Chermin.  He  was  a 
most  polite  and  self-contained  old  gentleman  in  the 
'Nineties.  In  1886  and  onward  M.  de  Bure  was  agent 
and  Brasier  de  Thuy  sub-agent.  In  1900  M.  A.  Dumon- 
teil  and  M.  P.  Nalin  were  in  Singapore,  and  in  1905  there 
was  a  main  line  A  to  Aden  ;  main  line  B  to  Djiboutil, 
branches  Singapore  to  Saigon,  Singapore  to  Batavia, 
and  a  monthly  cargo-boat  service,  the  whole  amounting 
to  twelve  a  month  from  Singapore,  where  M.  Tournaire 
was  in  charge,  to  be  succeeded  in  19 10  by  M.  L.  Bricard. 
M.  de  Courtois  was  in  charge  at  the  time  of  the  out- 
break of  the  Great  War.  He  went  home  ill  in  1 9 1 8,  and 
died  on  the  voyage.  Mr.  A.  Fombertaux  took  charge 
of  the  office  in  191 8  and  M.  de  Bussierre  in  1919. 

McAuLiFFE,  Davis  and  Hope. — ^This  firm  of  accoun- 
tants came  East  as  the  result  of  a  visit  in  1908  of  Mr. 
H.  S.  Hope,  A.C.A.,  who  came  out  to  carry  through 
certain  professional  work  on  behalf  of  London  clients 
in  the  development  of  rubber  in  Malaya.  In  the 
following  year  Mr.  A.  Sydney  Evens  came  out  from 
the  London  office  and  founded  the  Eastern  practice  in 
Penang,  under  the  name  of  McAuliffe,  Davis,  Evens  and 
Co.,  of  which  he  was  the  Eastern  partner.  He  was  inti- 
mately connected  with  Penang  Sugar  and  Straits  Sugar 
Estates,  now  under  rubber.  Mr.  Evens  afterwards 
joined  this  group  as  their  Chief  Accountant,  and  Mr. 
F.  H.  Grummit  took  over  the  management  in  Penang. 
Mr.  J.  S.  Brittain,  F.S.A.A.,  who  had  come  out  to  join 
the  Eastern  firm  on  Mr.  Evens 's  retirement,  came  to 
Singapore  in  191 2  and  founded  the  Singapore  branch. 
The  present  partners  are  the  London  firm,  Mr.  Grummit 
(Penang)  and  Mr.  Brittain  (Singapore). 

Nederlandsche  Handel-Maatschappij  (Nether- 
lands Trading  Society). — As  its  name  implies,  the  Neder- 
landsche Handel-Maatschappij  was  founded  primarily 
as  a  trading  company,  and  it  has  done  much  to  promote 


commerce  and  industry  in  the  Netherlands  overseas 
possessions.  It  was  estabhshed  by  Royal  Charter  in 
1824,  and  is  thus  within  a  few  years  of  its  centenary. 
In  its  early  days,  when  the  compulsory  cultivation 
system  was  in  force  in  the  Dutch  East  Indies,  the  Society 
was  the  State  agent  for  the  disposal  of  the  resulting 
produce,  and  with  the  abandonment  of  the  system 
banking  business  in  all  its  modern  ramifications  was 
undertaken.  How  successful  this  departure  has  proved 
is  shown  by  the  large  increase  in  profits  and  the  growth 
in  the  number  of  branches.  The  authorised  capital  of 
the  Society  at  its  foundation  was  fl. 3 7,000,000,  and  it 
now  stands  at  fl. 100,000,000  (about  ;^8,333,333).  The 
Netherlands  Trading  Society  is  at  present  by  far  the 
largest  Dutch  banking  concern  in  the  world.  Since 
December  191 3  fl. 2 5, 000,000  has  been  issued.  These 
measures  were  rendered  necessary  in  order  to  cope  with 
the  steadily  growing  business  of  the  Society,  especially 
abroad,  the  number  of  its  branches  having  risen  from 
seventeen  in  1900  to  thirty  in  19 14.  Of  these  twenty- 
four  are  established  in  the  Dutch  Dominions  and  six 
outside  Netherlands  India,  viz.  Singapore,  Penang, 
Rangoon,  Surinam,  Shanghai,  and  Hongkong. 

The  local  branch  was  opened  on  the  ist  May  1858,  in 
premises  at  Boat  Quay,  afterwards  removing  to  No.  2 
CoUyer  Quay  (now  the  office  of  the  Koninklyke  Paket- 
vaart  Maatschappij),  in  February  1893  again  removing 
to  larger  premises  at  No.  14  Collyer  Quay  (now  occupied 
by  Messrs.  Meyer  Bros.,  Syme  and  Co.,  and  others),  where 
the  banking  business  was  practically  started.  Although 
this  business  was  then  gradually  being  extended,  it 
increased  greatly  under  the  management  of  Mr.  C.  J.  K. 
vanAalst(the  ist  October  1898  to  the  ist  August,  1902), 
who  is  now  President  of  the  Board  of  Directors  at  the 
Amsterdam  head  office.  The  present  premises.  No.  1-2 
Cecil  Street,  corner  of  D 'Almeida  Street,  were  bought  in 
1 90 1,  and  occupied  by  the  Bank  since  February  1902. 
The  Managers  after  Mr.  van  Aalst  were :  J .  W.  van  de  Stadt , 
L.  Engel,  G.  J.  Houtsma,  and  C.  W.  A.  M.  Groskamp. 


Nippon  Yussen  Kaisha  (Japan  Mail  Steamship  Co.). 
— Founded  in  1885  by  the  amalgamation  of  the  Mitsui 
Bussan  Kaisha  Ltd.  and  the  Union  Transportation  Co. 
The  Nippon  Yusen  Kaisha  was  subsidised  by  the 
Japanese  Government,  and  since  1899  has  run  most  of 
its  voyages  under  mail  contract.  Until  191 8  the  agency 
in  Singapore  was  held  by  Messrs.  Paterson,  Simons 
and  Co.,  Ltd. 

The  North  China  Insurance  Co.  has  had  its  office 
here  more  than  thirty  years.  Mr.  B.  C.  T.  Gray  for 
many  years  (i  889-1 900)  was  in  charge,  followed  by 
L.  K.  Davies  and  A.  H.  Turner,  with  a  local  committee. 

Paterson,  Simons  and  Co. — ^The  founders  of  this 
business  traded  under  the  name  of  Holdsworth,  Smithson 
and  Co.,  which  firm  started  business  in  Singapore  some 
time  prior  to  1828,  in  which  year  Mr.  William  Wemyss 
Ker  joined  them.  He  was  admitted  a  partner  on  the 
22nd  January  1830.  According  to  the  old  newspapers, 
Richard  Holdsworth  and  William  Smithson  retired  on 
the  31st  March  1835,  and  the  name  was  changed  to 
Ker,  Rawson  and  Co.  Mr.  William  Paterson  and  Mr. 
Henry  Minchin  Simons  w^ere  assistants  in  the  middle 
'Forties,  and  both  appear  as  partners  in  1853.  On  the 
30th  April  1859  the  firm  of  Ker,  Rawson  and  Co.  was 
dissolved,  and  Messrs.  Ker,  Paterson,  and  Simons  started 
business  as  Paterson,  Simons  and  Co.  as  from  the  ist  May 
1859,  so  that  the  firm  this  year  (1919)  celebrated  its 
Diamond  Jubilee  under  the  present  name.  Partners  in 
the  firm  since  the  original  partners  have  been  Thomas 
Shelford,  C.M.G.,  W.  G.  Gulland,  Charles  Stringer, 
Cosmo  Gordon  Paterson,  Henry  Melvill  Simons,  George 
Muir,  William  Heard  Shelford,  Graham  Paterson,  and 
D.  P.  MacDougall.  In  1907  the  limited  liability  com- 
pany of  the  same  name  was  formed,  and  in  the  same 
year  the  firm  of  William  McKerrow  and  Co.  was  absorbed, 
Mr.  McKerrow  becoming  a  director  of  Paterson,  Simons 
and  Co.  He  died  in  London  in  191 8,  after  a  connection 
of  fifty  years  with  the  Colony.  In  England  Messrs.  H. 
Melvill  Simons,  William  Heard  Shelford,  and  Graham 

H.    M.    SIMONS. 



Paterson  still  maintain  their  interest  as  Directors  of  the 
firm,  and  the  Honourable  Mr.  C.  W.  Darbishire  and 
W.  P.  W.  Ker,  a  grandson  of  the  original  Ker,  are 
Directors  resident  in  Singapore. 

Several  other  well-known  Singaporeans  have  been  at 
one  time  or  another  in  Paterson,  Simons  and  Co.,  among 
them  E.  M.  Alexander  (1886-9),  later  in  the  Straits 
Trading  Co. ;  H.  P.  Bagley  (later  Eraser  and  Cumming, 
1887)  ;  A.  C.  Somerville  (1900)  ;  and  E.  Warrack  (later 
McAlister  and  Co.). 

The  firm  used  to  do  all  sorts  of  business,  for  in  1856 
they  advertised  for  sale  the  late  Dr.  Montgomerie's 
nutmeg  plantation  at  the  junction  of  New  Harbour 
Road  and  Tanjong  Pagar  Road,  32 J  acres,  with  the 
dwelling-houses  Craig  Hill  and  Duxton.  In  1888 
their  agencies  included  the  Johore  Government,  New 
Harbour  Dock,  Ben  Line,  Gibb  Line,  Union  Line, 
four  insurance  companies,  and  the  Pahang  Corporation. 
By  1895  there  had  been  added  the  Mogul  Line,  the 
Nippon  Yusen  Kaisha,  the  Tata  Line,  and  the  Pahang 
Kabang.  By  19 10,  when  Mr.  Darbishire  was  in  charge 
in  Singapore,  the  firm  employed  eleven  Europeans, 
and  had  the  Warrack,  Apcar,  Barber,  North  Pacific, 
Boston  Steamship,  Great  Northern,  Atlantic  Transport, 
and  White  Star  Lines,  and  the  Eastern  Mortgage 
Agency  ( 1 902 ) .  At  the  outbreak  of  war  sixteen  planting 
and  rubber  companies  had  their  interests  in  the  hands 
of  the  firm,  and  the  European  staff  had  increased  to 
twenty-one,  the  branches  opened  including  Penang, 
Kuala  Liimpur,  Klang,  and  Port  Swettenham. 

P.  S.  and  Co.,  or  their  partners,  were  instrumental  in 
the  formation  of  the  New  Harbour  Dock  Co.,  which  pur- 
chased the  property  and  goodwill  of  Tivendale  and  Co. 
(1863)  at  Sandy  Point,  "alongside  the  heaving  down 
hulk."  In  a  case  reported  in  1 874  against  George  Orton  (a 
brother  of  the  Tichborne  claimant)  as  captain  of  the 
Chow  Phya,  the  plaintiffs  named  were  H.  M.  Simons, 
W.  W.  Ker,  W.  Paterson,  W.  Cloughton,  Joseph 
Burleigh,  Jose  d'Almeida,  and  Ho  Ah  Kay  (Whampoa). 


Joseph  Burleigh's  name  is  the  only  one  in  this  list  that 
does  not  stand  prominently  forward  in  Singapore  history. 

Powell  and  Co. — ^The  firm  was  estabhshed  in  1863  by 
Mr.  H.  T.  Powell,  who  in  1867  was  also  Secretary  of  the 
Singapore  Club  (then  five  years  old) ;  Secretary  of  the 
Singapore  Exchange  (aged  eighteen) ;  an  auditor,  with 
Mr.  W.  W.  Willans,  of  the  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.  ; 
and  the  Proprietor  of  the  '*  Exchange  Prices  Current " 
(printed  by  the  Straits  Times  Press).  Mr.  J.  T.  Lloyd 
and  Mr.  C.  Dunlop  took  over  the  business  in  1871,  and 
the  former  did  not  retire  from  it  till  19 16,  when  he  retired 
to  England.  In  1883  there  were  associated  with  Mr. 
Lloyd  :  Mr.  C.  Dunlop,  Mr.  W.  H.  Derrick  (afterwards 
of  the  Pahang  Corporation),  and  Mr.  C.  P.  Derrick.  Mr. 
H.  L.  Coghlan  was  in  the  firm  in  1900,  and  two  of  Mr. 
Lloyd's  sons.  Powell  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  was  formed  to  take 
over  the  business,  the  first  Directors  being  Mr.  C.  M. 
van  Cuylenberg  and  Mr.  Harold  Latham. 

Raffles  Hotel. — ^This  hotel  was  estabhshed  by  the 
brothers  Sarkies  in  1 888,  in  a  large  bungalow  at  the  corner 
of  Bras  Basah  Road  and  Beach  Road.  The  original 
Proprietors  were  Martin  Sarkies,  Tigran  Sarkies,  and 
Aviet  Sarkies,  Tigran  being  very  well  known  in  Singa- 
pore for  many  years,  with  his  chief  man,  "  Joe  Con- 
stantine,"  who  has  passed  thousands  of  passengers 
through  his  hands  with  unfailing  urbanity.  Continual 
enlargements  have  been  made,  the  last,  in  191 8,  raising 
the  accommodation  to  close  on  200  rooms.  The  present 
Proprietors  are  Aviet  Sarkies,  Arshak  Sarkies,  and  M.  S. 

Riley,  Hargreaves  and  Co. — Richard  Riley  was  in 
business  in  Singapore  (High  Street)  in  1868  as  a  civil 
engineer,  and  he  and  William  Hargreaves  were  ship- 
wrights at  Boat  Quay.  Four  years  later  the  venue  of 
the  firm  is  given  as  North  River  Bank ;  Samuel 
Erskine  was  moulder  and  J.  Howarth  engineer.  Thus 
were  the  originators  of  the  two  firms  one,  again  to 
become  one  by  their  amalgamation  into  the  United 
Engineers,  in  the  course  of  forty  years.     Erskine  and 

Jl.  2r4] 



Howarth  were  both  here  in  1880,  in  River  Valley  Road, 
while  Riley,  Hargreaves  &  Co.  were  at  Kampong  Malacca. 
E.  J.  Wells,  engineer  of  the  Gas  Co.,  and  J.  R.  Allan  were 
then  partners.  About  this  time  Jackson  Millar  joined 
the  firm  from  Tanjong  Pagar,  and  Robert  Allan  was 
outdoor  foreman.  Jackson  Millar  had  gone  to  Europe 
by  1900,  when  the  Company  was  formed.  Many  well- 
known  engineers  in  Singapore  have  "  passed  through  the 
shops  "  of  Riley,  Hargreaves  and  Co. :  C.  E.  F.  Sander- 
son, A.  Richardson,  R.  M.  Goldie,  R.  Risk,  J.  L.  Hope, 
Graham  Hutchison,  and  W.  M.  Robertson.  In  1900 
the  Board  of  Directors  included  H.  Muhlinghaus,  W.  M, 
Robertson  (also  Manager  and  in  190 1  Managing  Director). 
G.  A.  Resting,  G.  M.  Preston,  and  Jackson  Millar.  Five 
years  later  there  were  twenty-nine  Europeans  in  the 
firm.  Mr.  T.  C.  B.  Miller  was  Accountant.  In  igcS 
C.  E.  F.  Sanderson  was  Managing  Director,  Mr.  R.  M. 
Goldie  Manager,  thirty-six  Europeans,  and  branches 
at  Ipoh  and  Penang.  Riley,  Hargreaves  were  the 
original  ice-makers  in  Singapore. 

Robinson  and  Co. — Mr.  Phihp  Robinson,  the  founder 
of  the  firm,  came  to  Singapore  from  Melbourne  about 
1857,  from  the  firm  of  Passmore,  Watson  and  Co.  He 
was  one  of  the  West  of  England  Robinsons,  a  family  well 
known  for  its  abihty  to  put  into  the  cricket  field  "  Robin- 
son teams."  One  of  his  brothers  was  Mayor  of  Bristol. 
In  i8s8,  with  James  Gaboriau  Spicer,  Mr.  Robinson 
opened  business,  and  the  partners  continued  together 
for  a  year,  when  Spicer  left.  Mr.  George  Rappa,  jun., 
and  Mr.  T.  C.  Loveridge  were  partners  for  a  time,  and 
in  1886,  when  Mr.  Philip  Robinson  died,  his  son,  Mr. 
S.  R.  Robinson,  took  charge  of  the  business  and  has  been 
in  control,  here  and  in  London,  ever  since.  Mr.  A.  W. 
Bean  joined  the  firm  in  1886,  and  Mr.  H.  T.  White  and 
Mr.  F.  Apps  more  than  a  decade  ago. 

Straits  Steamship  Company,  Ltd. — ^This  prosperous 

Company  was  formed  in  January  1 890,  with  an  authorised 

capital  of  $500,000,  paid  up  $362,800.     The  head  ofiice 

was  at  No.  i  Robinson  Quay,  Mr.  T.  C.  Bogaardt,  the 

II— 15 


leading  spirit  of  the  Company,  being  first  Chairman  of 
Directors.     Its  fleet  consisted  of  the  Sappho,  Captain 
Wahl ;  Malacca,  Captain  Daly  ;  Willo'  the  Wisp,  Captain 
Angus;  and  Billiton,  Captain  Chopard.     Captain  F.  M. 
Darke  was  Marine  Superintendent  and  Mr.  D.  J.  Matthews 
was  General  Manager.     Apart  from  a  small  service  to 
Dutch  ports,  the  steamers  then  traded  between  the  ports 
of  the  Colony  and  the  Malay  Peninsula.     In  1 892  Messrs. 
W.  Mansfield  and  Co.  took  over  the  management  of  the 
Company,  whose  head  office  had  been  removed  to  No.  5 
Prince's  Street.     Mr.  Bogaardt  continued   to  take  an 
active  interest  in  the  Company  until  1 897,  when  Mr.  C.  W. 
Laird  was  appointed  General  Manager.     The  fleet  in 
1900  included  the  Malacca,  Captain  J.  M.  Daly  ;  Sappho, 
Captain  F.  A.  Turner ;  Hye  Leong,  Captain  W.  S.  Quine  ; 
Neera,  Captain  J.  H.  Coyshe ;   Ban  Whatt  Hin,  Captain 
R.  T.  Olsen ;   Lady  Weld,  Captain  L.  Treweeke ;  Lady 
Mitchell,  Captain  S.  Mugford.     Just  prior  to  1900  the 
Tan  Kim  Tian  Steamship  Co.,  Ltd.,  was  formed,  and  run 
under  the  directorship  of  the  Straits  Steamship  Co.,  with 
Mr.  R.  Schmidt  as  its  General  Manager.     Its  fleet  in- 
cluded the  Giang  Ann,  Penang,  Giang  Seng,  Zweena,  and 
Flevo.     Mr.  D.   K.  Somerville  joined  the  Company  in 
1900,  and  was  appointed  General  Manager  in  1902,  which 
office  he  held  till  19 14,  when  he  left  for  Europe.     It  was 
Mr.  D.  K.  Somerville  who  was  responsible  for  the  pro- 
gressive building  scheme  which  materialised  with   the 
arrival  of  the    s.s.  Selangor.     By  1905    the  Tan    Kim 
Tian  Steamship  Co.,  Ltd.,  and  the  Straits  Steamship 
Co.,  Ltd.,  were  again  separated,  and  the  fleet  of  the  latter 
Company  at  that  date  included  the  s.s.  Bentong,  which 
was  lost  in  a  collision  in  the  Straits  of  Malacca  in  1906. 
In  1 9 10  the  fleet    included  the  well-known   passenger 
steamers  Perak,  Ipoh,  and  Kinta.     The  Directorate  was 
strengthened  in  19 10  by  Mr.  C.  McArthur,  of  the  Straits 
Trading  Co.,  joining  the  Board,  other  directors  being 
the  Honourable  Tan  Jiak  Kim,  Mr.  Lee  Choon  Guan, 
and  Mr.  Yow  Ngan    Pan,  Mr.  H.  E.   Somerville  being 
then   Manager  ;     Mr.   J.    H.   Sunner,  Marine  Superin- 


tendent ;  its  captains  including  such  well-known  skippers 
(in  addition  to  those  named)  as  R.  H.  D.  Sanderson, 
R.  Upton,  W.  G.  H.  Morell,  W.  Stafford  Fawcus,  and 
H.  Cobb.  The  Company  at  present  owns  twenty-two 
steamers,  and  the  service  has  been  extended  to  Bangkok, 
British  North  Borneo,  and  South  Philippines. 

The  Singapore  Electric  Tramway  Co.  is  the 
successor  of  the  steam  tramways  that  formerly  ran  from 
Tanjong  Pagar  to  Johnston's  Pier  and  from  Tanjong 
Pagar  to  Rochore.  It  lasted  for  three  years,  from  May 
1886,  and  in  1889  the  undertaking  was  offered  for  sale 
at  auction  at  Crane  Brothers,  being  purchased  by  the 
Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.,  who  used  it  to  convey  goods 
to  town  for  a  few  years  only,  when  the  rails  were  taken 
up  and  some  of  them  were  employed  in  constructing 
the  vault  of  the  Hongkong  and  Shanghai  Bank.  Mr. 
A.  A.  Swan  drove  the  first  steam  tramcar  himself.  The 
present  Company  was  registered  in  1902,  in  London, 
but  it  was  not  till  1905  that  the  cars  started  running. 
The  contractors  for  the  power  station,  track,  and  rolling 
stock  were  Dick,  Kerr  and  Co. 

Sarkies  and  Moses  goes  back  to  1840,  and  the  three 
Moses,  Catchick,  Aristarchus,  and  Narses,  were  all  here 
in  1 87 1 .  They  were  pillars  of  the  Armenian  community, 
and  Catchick  did  much  for  the  old  Armenian  Church. 
Aristarchus  Sarkies  had  come  to  Singapore  in  1820,  and 
Catchick  joined  his  uncle  in  1840  to  open  the  business 
of  Sarkies  and  Moses.  He  lived  till  1892,  and  as  he  had 
come  to  Singapore  in  1 828 — he  served  Boustead,  Schwabe 
and  Co.  as  an  apprentice  for  five  years — had  an  extraordi- 
nary experience  of  the  place,  as  Mr.  Buckley  tells  in  his 
Anecdotal  History.  No  firm  in  Singapore  has  had  so 
long  a  life,  with  unchanged  name  and  unchanged  partners. 

RiBEiRO  AND  Co. — Mr.  M.  Ribeiro  was  a  mercantile 
assistant  and  Consul  for  Portugal  in  1879.  His  son, 
Mr.  C.  A.  Ribeiro,  opened  the  printing  business  now  estab- 
lished here  in  1895. 


Otto   Puttfarcken   and   Otto    Rheiner  were   clerks   in 


Rautenberg  Schmidt's  before  1858.  Old  Otto  was  one 
of  the  founders  of  the  Teutonic  Club  in  1856,  then  in 
a  house  in  North  Bridge  Road,  behind  where  Raffles 
Hotel  is  now.  Puttfarcken,  Rheiner  and  Co.  was  founded 
on  the  I  St  January  1857.  Mr.  Theodor  Heinrich  Sohst 
was  an  assistant  in  1871,  and  Mr.  P.  J.  Seth  was  a  clerk 
in  the  firm  when  the  "  Rheiner  "  was  dropped  out  in 
1888.  Mr.  Sohst  was  the  head,  and  continued  so  till 
the  liquidation  of  the  firm  before  19 10.  Max  Puttfarcken, 
a  fine,  handsome  man,  son  of  Otto,  was  out  here  in  the 
'Eighties  and  'Nineties,  when  the  firm  had  eleven  assist- 
ants, among  them  Mr.  H.  Schaefer. 

Rautenberg,  Schmidt  &  Co.  was  opened  in  Singapore 
in  1848,  the  associated  firms  being  Schmidt,  Kustermann 
and  Co.,  Penang,  and  Schmidt  and  Kustermann,  Ham- 
burg. Henry  Charles  Rautenberg  and  Frederick  George 
Schmidt  were  the  founders,  the.  former  having  been  in 
the  German  firm  of  F.  E.  Walte  and  Co.  Mr.  Schmidt 
was  the  sole  partner  1852-8,  but  G.  Cramer,  Otto  Putt- 
farcken, and  Otto  Rheiner  were  assistants,  and  in  1 863 
and  in  1865  Franz  Kustermann  and  Carl  Sturzenegger 
became  partners.  In  1851  Rautenberg  had  gone  with 
a  party  of  three  others  in  a  sailing  boat  to  Rhio,  and  she 
sank  in  a  squall,  and  Rautenberg  and  another  man  were 
drowned.  In  the  'Seventies  M.  Suhl  was  the  head  of 
the  firm,  and  in  1883  C.  A.  Ranch  followed  him.  In 
1895  Mr.  Ranch,  P.  Haffter,  and  A.  Seumenicht  were 
in  the  firm,  which  had  then  eleven  European  assistants. 
Ranch  and  Seumenicht  were  good  musicians,  and  about 
this  time  chamber  music  flourished,  a  weekly  meeting 
being  held  at  Ranch's  house,  Mr.  W.  G.  St.  Clair  being 
one  of  the  party.  Haffter  was  in  Singapore  in  1900-5, 
and  R.  Sturzenegger.  The  firm  held  the  Austrian  Lloyd 
agency,  and  had  a  large  shipping  and  insurance  con- 
nection. M.  Suhl,  jun.,  had  charge  in  1910,  and  con- 
tinued so  to  the  outbreak  of  war. 

Vade  and  Co.  was  estabhshed  prior  to  1905,  the  name- 
founder  being  a  brother  of  the  wife  of  Mr.  C.  W.  Coning- 
ton,  who  was  in  charge  of  Syme  and  Co.  in  the  'Eighties. 


Mr.  Worsley  Taylor,  son  of  the  well-known  English  King's 
Counsel,  is  the  present  senior. 

The  Straits  Trading  Co.,  Ltd.,  which  carries  on  the 
business  of  tin  smelting,  was  started  by  the  late  Mr. 
Herman  Muhlinghaus  and  Mr.  James  Sword  in  the  year 
1886,  under  the  style  at  first  of  Sword  and  Muhlinghaus. 
It  was  afterwards,  on  the  8th  November  1 887,  turned  into 
a  limited  concern,  under  the  title  of  "  The  Straits  Trading 
Company,  Limited."  The  original  telegraphic  address 
**  Sword — Singapore  "  is  retained  to  this  day.  Muhling- 
haus, who  was  the  originator  of  the  idea,  was  at  one  time 
in  the  firm  of  Volkart  Brothers,  of  Ceylon  and  Western 
India,  and  he  came  to  Singapore  to  the  firm  of  D. 
Brandt  and  Co.,  leaving  them  afterwards  of  his  own  free 
will.  It  was  at  this  time  that,  while  having  a  look  round, 
he  visited  the  Native  States  (now  the  F.M.S.),  and  saw 
something  of  the  tin  mining  there.  Among  other  things 
he  noticed  the  methods  of  smelting  the  tin-ore,  and  he 
formed  the  opinion  that  they  were  very  wasteful,  and 
that  a  good  and  profitable  business  could  be  started 
by  introducing  European  methods  of  smelting  and  pur- 
chasing the  ore  from  the  miners.  He  appears  to  have 
acted  promptly  on  his  idea.  Tin  mining  in  the  Malay 
Peninsula  would  appear  to  have  been  carried  on  for 
centuries.  The  industry  was,  and  is,  largely  in  the 
hands  of  the  Chinese,  but  Malays  and  Siamese  were  also 
engaged  in  it  (and  latterly,  of  course,  Europeans),  and 
most  of  the  old  mining  and  smelting  terms  were  in  the 
Malay  language,  e.g.  Lombong — mine  (ordinary  open- 
cast) ;  Lombong  Siam — shaft  mining,  said  to  be  of 
Siamese  origin  ;  Lampan  or  Leris — ground  sluicing ; 
Pooboot  Timah — tin  smelting  ;  Relau — furnace  ;  Tek- 
kang — slag,  etc.  etc. 

Two  styles  of  smelting  furnaces  were  used,  the  Relau 
Semut  and  the  Relau  Tongkah.  The  Semut  was  of 
cylindrical  form,  of  clay,  about  8  ft.  to  10  ft.,  and  5  ft. 
diameter  in  the  centre.  It  had  a  natural  draught,  but 
it  required  the  best  hard-wood  charcoal  to  keep  it  going. 
The  Tongkah  furnace  (named  from  its  place  of  origin) 


was  also  of  clay,  in  crucible  iprm,  built  into  a  framework 
of  iron  bars,  and  raised  on  an  iron  tripod  stand.  The 
draught  is  produced  by  a  rough  bellows  made  from  a 
hoUowed-out  tree  trunk,  and  worked  on  the  piston  and 
cylinder  principle.  It  can  be  used  with  inferior  charcoal 
or  even  charred  wood.  It  is  still  in  use,  but  the  Semut 
has  pretty  well  gone  out.  These  furnaces  were  worked 
either  by  the  miners  themselves  or  by  Chinese  smelters, 
who  made  a  business  of  buying  the  ore  from  the  miners, 
as  the  Straits  Trading  Co.  did  later  on.  Attempts  to 
find  out  what  results  were  got  from  this  kind  of  smelting 
never  revealed  any  satisfactory  information.  The  Chinese 
professional  smelter  got  pretty  fair  returns  from  the 
higher  grades  of  ore,  but  had  difficulty  in  dealing  with 
the  lower  qualities.  The  Straits  Trading  Co.  was 
supposed  for  many  years  to  have  a  monopoly  of  smelting 
in  the  Straits  Settlements.  This  is  untrue,  as  they  had 
the  very  keenest  competition  from  Chinese  smelters, 
especially  in  Perak.  It  was  only  by  continually  im- 
proving and  cheapening  their  methods  that  they  were 
able  to  hold  on  their  way. 

Sword  was  a  partner  in  the  firm  of  Gilfillan,  Wood  and 
Co.  (now  Adamson,  Gilfillan  and  Co.,  Ltd.).  His  health 
gave  way,  and  he  had  made  up  his  mind  to  cut  adrift 
from  the  Straits  and  clear  out  for  good.  It  was  at  this 
time  that  he  was  approached  by  Muhlinghaus  and  asked 
to  join  with  him  in  the  new  smelting  venture.  Sword 
knew  nothing  of  tin  refining,  and  Muhlinghaus  was  aware 
of  this.  It  was  the  custom  in  those  days  for  the  miners 
to  send  out  the  tin  in  a  rough  state  ;  some  of  it  was  refined 
at  Malacca  on  the  way  down,  and  the  remainder  mostly 
by  Singapore  merchants  themselves,  after  purchase  from 
the  Chinese.  After  taking  time  to  think  the  matter  over, 
Sword  made  a  trip  to  Australia  and  home,  and  finally 
agreed  to  fall  in  with  Muhlinghaus 's  proposal.  The 
combination  turned  out  a  very  happy  one. 

To  start  the  business  the  first  thing  to  do  was  to  get 
permission  from  the  Native  States  Governments  to 
export  the  tin-ore.     This  was  obtained  without  much 


difficulty  apparently  in  the  case  of  Selangor  and  Sungei 
Ujong  (now  part  of  Negri  Sembilan) ;  but  Perak  would 
have  none  of  them  at  first,  as  they  feared  the  business 
would  lead  to  smuggling,  but  the  permit  was  obtained 
about  two  years  later.  They  were  welcomed  by  some 
of  the  Residents  of  States,  because  they  were  going  to 
pay  cash  for  the  ore  on  delivery  in  place  of  the  truck 
system  then  largely  in  use  by  the  miners  ;  and  also 
because  the  Native  States  Governments  were  getting 
alarmed  at  the  rapid  destruction  of  the  forests  by  the 
charcoal  burners  for  the  local  smelting.  As  the  opening 
up  of  the  new  business  entailed  the  outlay  of  considerable 
capital  and  considerable  risk,  the  promoters  asked  for  a 
monopoly  of  the  export  of  tin-ore  for  a  period  of  years. 
This  concession  was  granted  by  the  Selangor  Government, 
and  also,  for  a  short  term,  by  Sungei  Ujong,  but  never 
by  Perak.  The  percentage  of  metal  in  the  ore  on  which 
export  duty  was  calculated  was  supposed  by  outsiders 
to  be  very  advantageous,  but  it  was  not  so,  as  the  ore  was 
not  then  cleaned  up  as  it  was  later  on,  when  the  percent- 
age was  raised. 

The  question  of  finance  was  arranged  at  first  through 
the  Hongkong  and  Shanghai  Bank,  but  the  Directors 
in  Hongkong  of  this  Institution  would  not  agree  to  it, 
much  to  the  disgust  of  the  then  local  Manager,  the  late 
Mr.  W.  G.  Greig.  The  account  was  then  taken  over  for 
the  Chartered  Bank  of  India,  AustraUa  and  China  by 
their  Manager,  at  that  time  the  late  Mr.  William  Dougal, 
to  whom  the  new  concern  was  frequently  indebted  for 
his  sympathy  and  financial  support.  In  order  to  collect 
the  tin-ore  from  the  miners,  it  was  necessary  to  open 
branches  in  the  Native  States  for  this  purpose. 

Sungei  Ujong  was  opened  by  Muhlinghaus  at  Serem- 
ban.  The  Resident  of  the  State  was  then  Mr.  W.  F.  B. 
Paul,  and  among  his  subordinates  were  the  late  W.  R.  H. 
Carew,  W.  W.  Douglas,  E.  P.  Gueritz,  and,  later,  Arthur 
Keyser,  etc.  Among  the  non-officials  were  the  late 
T.  H.  Hill,  the  late  A.  B.  Rathbone,  the  late  Abraham 
Hale  (then  engaged  in  mining  pursuits),  the  late  Sheikh 


Abdulrahman,  etc.  The  Company's  godown  was  erected 
in  Paul  Street,  Seremban,  and  it  stood  until  1918,  when 
the  new  building  was  put  up.  Some  of  those  who  joined 
the  Company  about  that  time  were  Gustav  Guntzel, 
O.  Oertlopp,  the  late  W.  R.  M.  Wragge,  the  late  J.  W. 
Gunn,  the  late  G.  J.  Penny.  An  interesting  phase  of 
the  Sungei  Ujong  branch  was  the  opening  up  of  the  little 
State  of  Jelebu,  where  Muhlinghaus  was  interested  in 
mining  concessions,  which  were  afterwards  worked  as 
the  Jelebu  Mining  Co.  under  the  management  of  the  late 
James  W.  Gunn,  a  clever  and  interesting  man.  The 
Johore  Mining  and  Tin  Co.  was  another  concern,  with 
which  were  associated  William  Dunman,  Horace  Brett, 
L.  W.  Money,  John  Gardner,  etc.  Both  these  concerns 
did  well  at  one  time,  but  their  lands  are  now  mostly 
worked  out,  and  have  passed  into  other  hands.  Mr. 
Evan  Cameron  worked  for  the  Company  in  Seremban 
for  about  sixteen  years  in  all.  In  the  old  days  the  port 
was  Penkalen  Kampas,  on  the  Linggi  River.  Since  then 
the  railway  has  been  built,  and  Port  Dickson  has  come 
into  existence  as  the  port  in  place  of  Penkalen  Kampas. 
The  mining  in  this  State  dwindled  down,  but  with  the 
development  of  rubber  the  town  of  Seremban  has 
extended  greatly. 

The  Selangor  branch  was  started  by  Sword  in  a  small 
shop  in  Ampang  Road,  Kuala  Lumpur,  afterwards 
moving  to  the  present  site  near  the  railway  premises  and 
the  Padang.  The  Resident  of  Selangor  was  then  Mr. 
(now  Sir  Frank)  Swettenham.  Among  his  officials  were 
A.  R.  Venning,  the  late  Sir  John  Rodger,  Conway 
Belfield,  H.  C.  Syers,  Hon.  Martin  Lister,  H.  F.  Bellamy, 
etc.  Among  the  non-officials  were  the  late  W.  W. 
Bailey,  the  late  Fred.  Toynbee,  R.  C.  Rendle,  and  H.  O. 
Maynard.  Selangor  soon  developed  into  an  important 
branch,  and  it  was  for  a  long  time  the  mainstay  of  the 
Company's  business.  Mr.  Cameron  paid  a  visit  to  Kuala 
Lumpur  in  the  year  1887,  and  met  Mr.  Sword  there  for 
the  first  time.  In  later  years  he  worked  there  for  the 
Straits  Trading  Co.     Among  those  who  followed  Mr. 


Sword  were  the  late  F.  O.  West,  a  very  well-known  man 
in  his  day,  and  very  hospitably  inclined.  In  his  time 
the  "  Tinneries  "  (as  the  godown  and  living  quarters 
were  then  called)  was  a  great  social  centre.  Others  were 
the  late  George  Gumming,  the  late  E.  M.  Alexander 
(Sandy),  both  well-known  and  popular  men  ;  G.  H.  D. 
Bourne,  W.  W.  Cook,  and  W.  F.  Nutt.  The  branch  is  at 
present  under  the  management  of  Mr.  J.  M.  Sime. 

Perak. — Mr.  Muhhnghaus  opened  this  branch  about 
1888  or  1889.  He  began  work  at  Gopeng  in  Kinta, 
his  first  leading  customer  being  the  late  Towkay  Eu  Kong, 
father  of  Towkay  Eu  Tong  Seng.  The  headquarters  were 
later  on  transferred  to  Ipoh,  and  sub-agencies  as  in 
Selangor  were  opened  afterwards  at  Lahat,  Kampar, 
and  other  places.  The  Perak  seat  of  Government  was, 
of  course,  at  Taiping,  as  it  is  now.  Mr.  F.  Swettenham 
had  then  become  Resident  in  the  place  of  the  late  Sir 
Hugh  Low,  retired.  There  was  no  inducement  to  start 
business  at  Taiping  in  those  days,  but  there  is  a  sub- 
agency  there  now.  The  Kinta  District  Government  was 
in  charge  of  the  late  Mr.  J.  B.  M.  Leach  and  other 
officials,  including  Hubert  Berkeley,  W.  G.  Maxwell, 
F.  J.  Weld,  W.  P.  Hume,  etc.  Muhhnghaus  was  very 
successful  in  Perak,  and  worked  up  a  fine  business  there. 
He  had  a  wonderful  way  of  attracting  the  Chinese  miners 
to  him.  Work  was  difficult  owing  to  the  undeveloped 
state  of  the  country,  no  roads  nor  railways,  and  the 
Kinta  River  the  only  means  of  transport .  Pilfering  of  ore 
in  transit  was  at  one  time  a  serious  source  of  loss.  Later 
on,  the  Kinta  Valley  Railway  came  through,  and  things 
were  easier,  and  Perak  is  now  considered  the  Company's 
most  important  branch.  Among  the  earher  men  in 
Perak  for  the  Company  were  Oertlopp  (Manager),  the 
late  D.  J.  Berwick,  the  late  W.  R.  M.  Wragge,  and 
Henry  Tatlock  (Manager  for  many  years,  and  a  very 
popular  man).  The  last-named  was  in  Germany  when 
the  War  broke  out,  and  cannot  for  the  present  be  traced. 
Mr.  F.  E.  de  Paula  is  now  Manager.  The  non-officials 
included  Grant-Mackie,  Douglas  Osborne  (then  starting 


his  hydraulic  mining  schemes,  which  were  afterwards  to 
prove  so  successful),  J.  J.  and  the  late  C.  Tait,  Walter 
Tait,  and  the  late  G.  M.  Donald. 

The  Tongkah  branch  was  started  quite  recently 
(in  the  year  1902)  by  Mr.  Frank  Adam,  who  joined  the 
Company  about  that  time. 

Smelting. — ^The  first  reducing  of  the  ore  was  done  in  an 
old  smelting  shed  at  Teluk  Anson,  formerly  the  property 
of  the  Shanghai  Tin  Mining  Company,  a  concern  which 
had  mines  inKinta,  but  which  had  closed  down.     To  this 
place  came  the  first  smelting  staff,  and  among  them  two 
men,  John  McKillop  and  John  Carroll,  as  Manager  and 
head  smelter  respectively.     They  were  in  the  Company's 
service  for  many  years,  afterwards  occupying  prominent 
positions.      Carroll,    on    the    retirement    of    McKillop, 
succeeded  to  the  managership  of  the   smelting  works. 
He,  in  turn,  was  succeeded  by  Mr.  S.  B.  Archdeacon, 
the  present  Manager.     The  starting  of  the  business  ap- 
pears to  have  been  difficult.;    the  leading  miners  were 
very  suspicious,   and  there  were  many  wheels  within 
wheels :  for  instance,  the  mines  were  largely  financed 
from  Singapore  and  Penang,  and  the  advancers  wanted 
tin  in  exchange  for  what  they  sent  up  in  the  shape  of 
stores,     etc.     Weights     were    another    problem.     The 
Native  States  pikul  was  different  from  the  Straits  (the 
kati  was  based  on  the  weight  of  so  many  silver  dollars, 
something  hke  twenty-four  dollars  in  one  place  and 
twenty  in  another).     Pikuls   100  in  the  Native  States 
weighed  pikuls  107  in  Singapore.     In  buying  ore  this  was 
allowed  for  in  the  price  to  the  seller,  but  on  the  mines  it 
was  not  considered  at  all  in  deahng  with  the  coohes 
selHng  the  tin  to  the  miner,  who  consequently  scored  an 
extra  profit  on  it.     In  some  cases,  the  difference  was 
much   greater — there   was    no   really   good   system   of 
control  of  weights  and  measures,  and  swindHng  went 
on  right  and  left.     This  state  of  things  has  long  since 
passed  away,  and  one  system  of  weights  prevails  every- 
where ;    but  it  was  difficult  to  overcome  these  troubles 
at  first.     The  fact  of  the  Company  paying  in  cash  instead 


of  partly  in  kind,  as  was  the  old  custom,  was  a  great 

The  first  experiments  of  smelting  were  apparently 
very  disappointing  at  Teluk  Anson.  They  could  not 
get  the  tin  out  of  the  ore,  and  it  looked  at  one  time  as  if 
the  whole  thing  would  close  up.  A  curious  incident 
is  related  of  what  took  place  at  that  time.  It  was 
discovered  that  a  lot  of  tin,  as  molten  metal  often 
does,  had  percolated  into  the  ground  below  the  furnace. 
Quite  a  large  mass  was  dug  out,  and  was  pointed  to  with 
pride  by  the  smelting  manager  as  the  missing  tin  1 
There  was  a  shrewd  suspicion  in  some  quarters  that  this 
tin  was  an  unintentional  gift  from  the  old  Shanghai 
Company,  but  anyway  it  saved  the  situation  for  the 
time,  and  it  was  from  about  this  date  that  things  began 
to  mend,  and  the  smelting  plant  was  transferred  to 

The  new  smelting  works  were  erected  at  Pulo  Brani 
Island,  New  Harbour,  Singapore,  on  lease  from  the 
Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Company,  Limited.  The  site 
was  at  one  time  the  property  of  the  old  Bon-Accord 
Graving  Dock  (Buyers  and  Robb),  and  some  of  the  old 
buildings  were  made  use  of.  The  smelting  works  are 
there  to  this  day.  Other  sites  were  looked  at — among 
them  Button  Island,  New  Harbour,  and  later  on  the  late 
Captain  Bing's  property  at  Bukit  Chermin.  The  works 
were  established  in  1890,  the  personnel  of  the  Company 
in  that  year  being  :  General  Manager,  J.  Sword  ; 
Manager  of  Branches,  H.  Muhhnghaus  ;  Sungei  Ujong, 
O.  Oertlopp  ;  Selangor,  F.  G.  West  ;  Batu  Gajah, 
Archibald  Kennedy  ;  Ipoh,  W.  M.  R.  Wragge  ;  Gopeng, 
C.  G.  Mackie ;  JPulo  Brani,  Manager,  John  McKillop, 
Foreman  Smelter,  John  Carroll.  It  was  at  this  time  that 
the  Limited  Company  (Straits  Trading  Company)  was 
formed,  and  the  Singapore  office  opened.  (Gilfillan, 
Wood  and  Co.  did  the  Singapore  work  at  first.  Adamson, 
Gilfillan  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  are  the  London  agents.)  Sword 
and  Muhlinghaus  took  charge  alternately  in  Singapore 
from  year  to  year,  until  about  the  year  1899,  when  they 


both  practically  retired  from  active  participation  in  the 
Company's  affairs.  Successive  Managing  Directors  have 
been:  Charles  MacArthur,  W.  W.  Cook,  T.  E.  Earle, 
Frank  Adam,  E.  F.  Mauldon,  and  to-day  W.  F.  Nutt. 
Among  the  first  shareholders  were  the  late  James  Miller, 
T.  E.  Earle,  and  other  partners  of  Gilfillan,  Wood  and 
Co. ;  Huber  and  Cadonau,  of  Fischer,  Huber  and  Co. ; 
W.  Hutton,  of  John  Little  and  Co.,  Ltd.,  etc.  Many  of 
the  leading  men  in  Singapore,  however,  for  many  years 
declined  any  participation  in  the  Company's  affairs. 
Mr.  George  Derrick  was  for  many  years  the  Company's 
Accountant,  and  Charles  Crane,  the  late  Secretary,  was 
a  very  old  servant. 

The  Straits  Trading  Company  at  times  had  in  view 
other  business  besides  tin  smelting,  but  the  schemes  did 
not  mature.  They  had  individual  interests  in  tobacco 
planting  and  coffee  estates  in  Selangor  and  Perak,  but 
they  were  not  a  success.  The  late  Mr.  T.  C.  Bogaardt,  the 
founder  of  the  Straits  Steamship  Company  (a  man  of 
great  ability),  was  the  man  with  whom  the  first  arrange- 
ments for  carrying  the  ore  by  sea  were  made,  and  his  two 
captains,  the  late  O.  Wahl,  of  the  Sappho,  and  J.  M.  Daly, 
of  the  Malacca  (now  of  the  Ipoh),  carried  the  ore  in  their 
ships  very  successfully  for  many  years. 

Penang  Smelting  Works  were  opened  in  the  year  1902 
to  take  over  the  increasing  business,  and  have  now 
assumed  large  dimensions. 

From  small  beginnings  the  Company  has  spread  to 
great  things,  and  is  now  probably  the  largest  smelter 
of  tin  in  the  world,  and  has  had  many  years  of  great 
prosperity.  They  were  not  without  their  periods  of 
trouble,  and  there  were  times  when  it  needed  all  the 
ability  of  the  management  to  surmount  them.  The 
more  recent  history  of  the  Straits  Trading  Company  is 
well  known.  Since  they  started,  over  thirty  years  ago, 
vast  changes  have  taken  place  in  the  Native  States. 
The  railways,  which  were  then  only  the  lines  from  Kuala 
Lumpur  to  Klang  and  Taiping  to  Port  Weld,  have  now 
extended  from  Penang  to  Singapore  on  the  west  side 


and  as  far  as  Siam.  The  country  has  been  further 
opened  up  by  a  magnificent  road  system.  New  towns 
have  sprung  up,  and  the  older  ones  have  extended 
greatly.  Port  Swettenham  has  come  into  existence, 
and  the  country  has  been  covered  with  vast  areas 
under  rubber  cultivation. 

With  regard  to  the  tin-mining  industry,  an  enormous 
amount  of  work  has  been  done,  and  the  amount  of  ore 
produced  would,  if  reckoned  up,  reach  astounding 
figures.  The  quantity  dealt  with  by  the  Straits  Trading 
Co.  is  almost  past  belief.  Unfortunately,  an  alluvial 
mine  is  not  a  thing  that  lasts  very  long  as  a  rule,  and 
large  areas  of  mining  land,  especially  in  the  southern 
parts  of  the  Peninsula,  have  become  worked  out.  Many 
valleys  that  in  comparatively  recent  years  had  thousands 
of  coolies  at  work  in  them  are  now  silent  and  deserted. 
New  and  unexpected  finds  are  taking  place,  but  it  is 
difficult  to  foretell  what  will  happen  (for  one  thing  the 
country,  being  covered  with  jungle,  is  difficult  to  pros- 
pect),and  it  is  generally  believed  that  the  F.M.S.,  at  least, 
have  reached  the  top  as  regards  tin  production.  The 
tendency  now  is  to  look  in  the  States  further  to  the  north 
for  fresh  fields. 

Swan  and  Maclaren. — ^The  founders  of  this  firm  of 
architects  and  engineers  were  Mr.  A.  A.  Swan  and  Mr. 
J.  W.  B.  Maclaren  in  1885,  and  in  1895  their  assistants 
were  Mr.  Alan  Wilson  (who  died  in  Penang  in  191 8), 
Mr.  J.  Meikle,  and  Mr.  R.  W.  Crichton,  architects.  By 
1900  Mr.  Swan  had  retired;  Mr.  R.  A.  J.  Bidwell  had 
become  a  partner  (1899),  and  continued  so  for  many 
years  ;  Mr.  T.  Swales,  architect  (went  to  Rangoon  and 
established  himself  there,  with  Mr.  E  J.  Pullar,  also  of 
Swan  and  Maclaren,  190 1-6);  Mr.  S.  af.  Klinteberg,  a 
civil  engineer,  a  Swede,  who  died  in  Penang  in  191 8; 
and  Mr.  Jas.  Stark,  established  in  Penang.  Mr.  A.  J. 
W.  Watkins,  originally  in  the  F.M.S.  railways,  had 
become  a  partner  by  1905,  and  Mr.  V.  A.  Flower  was  in 
the  firm.  Mr.  Flower  retired  before  the  War,  but  joined 
up,  rose  to  the  rank  of  Lieutenant-Colonel  in  charge  of 


a  London  battalion,  and  was  killed  in  action.  Mr.  T. 
Bramell  was  in  the  firm  in  1910,  for  a  time  in  charge  of 
the  Bangkok  branch.  Mr.  H.  Robinson  became  a 
partner  a  year  or  so  later,  Mr.  D.  McLeod  Craik  and 
V.  Steadman  were  the  architects,  Mr.  H.  L.  Penfold  an 
engineer,  and  the  staff  of  surveyors  included  Messrs. 
R.  D.  Jackson  and  A.  A.  Lermit.  Mr.  Maclaren  was 
trained  as  a  civil  engineer  in  Edinburgh,  was  formerly 
engaged  on  an  extension  of  the  Caledonian  Railway  and 
on  the  Calansas  and  Marsis  Railway,  and  was  one  of  a 
commission  to  report  on  Naples  Waterworks.  Mr. 
Watkins  was  in  the  same  firm  in  Edinburgh,  and  up  to 
1902  was  engaged  in  railway  work  in  the  Federated 
Malay  States.  Mr.  Bidwell  came  into  the  firm  in  1895, 
having  been  assistant  to  the  Superintending  Architect 
of  the  London  County  Council.  He  originally  came  out 
to  Selangor,  and  under  Mr.  C.  E.  Spooner  designed 
the  Kuala  Lumpur  public  buildings.  He  married  a 
daughter  of  Mr.  C.  M.  Allen,  of  Perseverance  Estate,  who 
was  A.  R.  Wallace's  assistant  in  Borneo.  Swan  and 
Maclaren  came  easily  first  among  those  in  control  of 
the  metamorphosis  of  building  in  Singapore,  among 
their  achievements  being  the  Victoria  Memorial  Hall  ; 
the  Chartered  Bank  (both  buildings)  ;  the  Hongkong 
Bank ;  John  Little  and  Co.  and  Katz  Bros.,  new  stores ; 
innumerable  stores  in  town  and  houses  in  the  country  ; 
the  P.  and  0.  steel  wharves  ;  Raffles  Hotel ;  additions  to 
the  Adelphi  and  Europe  Hotels  ;  Commercial  Union 
premises  ;  Eastern  Extension  Telegraph  Co.'s  office  ; 
and  buildings  at  Finlayson  Green. 

Syme  and  Co. — ^The  firm  of  Syme  and  Co.,  merchants, 
was  founded  by  Mr.  Hugh  Syme  in  the  year  1823,  and 
continues  to  this  day  in  Singapore  under  the  same 
name.  Mr.  Syme  was  one  of  the  first  Commissioners 
of  the  Peace,  appointed  in  1 826,  and  remained  connected 
with  the  Settlement  until  1830.  On  the  29th  March 
of  that  year  he  sailed  from  Singapore  in  the  British 
ship  Flora  for  Anjer,  to  join  a  home-going  ship  there, 
but  was  not  destined  to  reach  the  Old  Country.     Falling 


R.  KEK. 

W.  KER. 

II.  228] 

J.   GRAHAM,   vSEN. 


ill  on  the  voyage,  he  died  at  sea  off  the  Cape.     News 
of  this,  which  did  not  reach  Singapore  till  November, 
came  in  a  letter  from  Mr.  C.  R.  Read,  of  A.  L.  Johnston 
and  Co;,  written  from  St.  Helena.     He  left  for  Europe 
about  three  months  after  Mr.  Syme  did,  and  probably 
learned  of  his  death  on  arrival  at  St.  Helena,  which  was 
a  regular  port  of  call  in  those  days.     A  house  known 
as   Duxton,   standing  in   sixteen   acres   of  ground   off 
New  Harbour  Road,  as  it  was  then  called,  was  the  resi- 
dence and  property  of  Mr.  Syme.     Later  members  of 
the  firm,  Mr.  Robert  Diggles  and  Mr.  Thomas  McMicking, 
also  lived  there.     The  house  no  longer  exists.     It  stood 
on  the  land   forming  the  triangle  made  by  Tanjong 
Pagar  Road,  Craig  Road,  and  Neil  Road,  now  covered 
with  houses  and  intersected  by  the  two  roads  known  as 
Duxton  Road  and  Duxton  Hill,  by  which  the  name 
survives.     The  property,  which  was  planted  with  spice 
and  fruit  trees,  was  eventually  acquired  by  Dr.  Mont- 
gomerie.     Another  link  with  the  time  of  Mr.  Syme  is 
a  tombstone,  still  existing,  in  the  old  cemetery  on  Fort 
Canning  Hill,  to  Mr.  Samuel  Sweeting,  one  of  the  firm's 
earliest  employees,  who  died  on  the  30th  September  1 830. 
Mr.  Syme  goes  back  to  the  very  earliest  days  of  Singa- 
pore.    He  is  one  of  the  ninety-four  European  inhabitants 
of  the   year  1827,   and   these  included   "  punch-house 
keepers."     Of  the  Hst  of  firms  of  1823,  Syme  and  Co.  is 
the  only  one  surviving,  although  Guthrie  and  Clark  have 
their  representatives  in  Guthrie  and  Co.,  Ltd.     A.  L. 
Johnston  and  Co.  closed  down  in  1890,  and  J.  Purvis  six 
years  previously.    Syme  and  Co.  were  appointed  Lloyd's 
agents  in  1829,  and  the  original  document  of  appoint- 
ment is  still  in  existence,  though  dilapidated,  and  is 
probably  the  oldest  commercial  document  referring  to 
Singapore.     Mr.    F.    J.    Bernard,    Notary   PubHc,    had 
represented  Lloyd's  in  Singapore  up  to  the  time  Syme 
and  Co.  were  appointed  agents. 

Throughout  its  long  existence  the  partners  and 
assistants  of  Syme  and  Co.  have  played  an  important 
part  in  the  history  of  Singapore.     Mr.  Robert  Ker,  one 


of  the  earliest,  came  east  in  the  Twenties.  One  of  his 
voyages  was  made  in  the  brig  Matilda y  260  tons  register, 
which  sailed  from  Liverpool  on  the  13th  June  1827, 
and  reached  Batavia  in  no  days.  He  did  not  retire 
from  Ker,  Bolton  and  Co.  till  1870.  His  nephew,  Mr. 
William  Ker,  jun.,  who  followed  his  father  Mr.  William 
Ker  in  the  firm,  started  as  a  clerk  in  Syme  and  Co.  in 
1 846,  became  a  partner  six  years  later,  and  retired  from 
Ker,  Bolton  and  Co.  in  1884,  living  to  191 2,  when  he  was 
over  ninety  years  of  age.  His  son,  J.  Paton  Ker,  was 
also  in  the  firm  in  Singapore  in  the  'Eighties,  a  fine 
amateur  jockey;  he  died  in  191 7.  Another  partner 
who  had  a  long  connection  with  the  firm  was  Mr.  Joseph 
Cheney  Bolton.  He  retired  from  Ker,  Bolton  and  Co. 
in  1884.  Mr.  Thomas  McMicking,  who  was  a  trustee  of 
the  Raffles  Institution,  became  a  partner  in  1835.  He 
was  one  of  those  that  made  the  celebrated  and  nearly 
fatal  voyage  to  Malacca  in  1836  in  the  newly  arrived 
paddle-steamer  Jardine.  The  engines  could  only  be 
got  to  go  by  fits  and  starts  ;  finally  the  vessel  went  on 
fire  in  the  Straits,  all  on  board  having  a  very  narrow 
escape.  Mr.  McMicking  in  1835  was  nearly  killed  by 
gang  robbers  in  his  house,  Duxton,  an  affair  that 
created  a  great  sensation  at  the  time.  Mr.  Gilbert 
McMicking  became  a  partner  in  Syme  and  Co.  in  1852, 
at  which  time  Mr.  William  Mactaggart,  whose  sons  were 
well  known  in  Singapore  in  later  years,  was  an  assistant 
in  the  firm,  becoming  a  partner  in  1857.  Mr.  Robert 
Jardine,  who  later  joined  Ker,  Bolton  and  Co.,  came  out  to 
Syme  and  Co.  in  1852.  In  1857  Mr.  G.  M.  Dare  was  an 
assistant  in  the  firm  of  Syme  and  Co.  Mr.  George  Arm- 
strong was  an  assistant  from  1856  to  1862,  and  Buckley 
tells  us  that  he  was  a  member  of  the  first  Volunteer 
Corps,  a  tall  and  remarkably  athletic  man.  Mr.  James 
Lyall  was  a  partner  in  1866,  and  subsequently  estab- 
lished himself  first  as  a  broker,  and  later  in  association 
with  Mr.  P.  T.  Evatt  as  an  accountant.  Mr.  James 
Graham,  although  but  a  comparatively  short  time  in 
Singapore,  was  one  of  the  leading  men  after  the  Transfer, 


and  had  a  remarkable  career.  Of  Border  and  Ulster 
stock,  he  was  born  in  County  Tyrone  in  1838.  As  a 
boy  he  got  his  early  business  training  in  a  well-known 
South  American  firm,  and  was  married  at  Lima  to 
Jane  Buckley,  niece  of  a  partner  of  the  firm.  In  1869 
he  returned  to  England  and  started  business,  and  in 
1875  accepted  an  offer  from  Ker,  Bolton  and  Co.  to 
manage  their  Singapore  house,  S3^me  and  Co.  He  re- 
mained in  the  Colony  till  1886,  when  he  was  recalled 
to  Glasgow,  and  became  a  partner  in  the  home  firm, 
dying  on  New  Year's  Day  1905,  just  as  he  was  on  the 
eve  of  retirement  from  the  firm,  of  which  he  was  then 
the  senior  partner.  His  son,  Mr.  James  Graham,  jun., 
was  in  Syme  and  Co.  from  1892  to  1906,  and  is  now  a 
partner  in  Ker,  Bolton  and  Co.  Mrs.  James  Graham,  sen., 
is  still  living  and  well  (January  1919),  and  resides  with 
her  daughter  at  Limpsfield,  Surrey.  Mr.  Graham  the 
elder,  while  he  lived  here,  entered  into  the  affairs  of  the 
Colony  with  Ulster  energy  and  wholeheartedness.  He 
was  for  five  years  a  Member  of  the  Legislative  Council, 
and  brought  to  its  debates  much  abihty  and  indepen- 
dence of  thought,  besides  a  good  deal  of  the  saving 
grace  of  humour. 

The  Singapore  Free  Press  of  the  ist  February  1905, 
in  its  obituary  notice,  wrote  of  him  as  follows,  and 
those  who  knew  him  will  agree  that  the  words  quoted 
give  an  excellent  sketch  of  his  personality  : 

"  Owing  nothing  to  local  influence  or  connection,  he 
rapidly  came  to  the  front  in  business  and  social  circles, 
purely  through  force  of  character,  level-headedness, 
and  unswerving  uprightness.  In  manner  blunt  and 
outspoken,  he  sometimes  gave  offence  to  those  who 
did  not  understand  him  by  his  impatience  of  humbug  ; 
and  he  never  failed  to  speak  his  mind,  whether  in  the 
Chamber  of  Commerce  in  his  early  days,  at  the  Club, 
where  he  was  generally  the  centre  of  a  group  of  seniors, 
or  in  the  Legislative  Council,  where  he  soon  made  his 
mark,  sharing  the  honours  of  opposition  with  Thomas 
Shelf ord  and  WilHam  Gulland.  His  best  speech  in 
II — 16 


Council  was  perhaps  that  opposing  Lord  Kimberley's 
scheme  for  disendowing  the  Colonial  Chaplaincies  (in 
1882).  .  .  . 

"  Mr.  Graham  was  a  great  reader.  Like  John  Bright, 
he  brought  to  all  the  subjects  he  handled  a  mind  stored 
with  the  English  classics,  and  this  gave  tone  and  style 
to  all  his  public  speaking.  He  was  a  keen  politician, 
and,  as  became  an  Ulster  Protestant,  he  detested  Home 
Rule.  A  genial  companion  and  a  warm  and  trusty 
friend,  his  sympathies  were  always  with  those  in 
trouble  or  misfortune  ;  and  a  worthy  cause,  whether  in 
fashion  or  not,  was  sure  of  his  help  and  advocacy.  In 
society  he  was  as  much  sought  after  as  in  grave  affairs, 
and  when  early  in  1886  he  joined  his  firm  at  home,  he 
left  a  blank  in  Singapore." 

Coming  on  down  the  list  of  Syme  and  Co.'s  representa- 
tives, Mr.  C.  W.  Conington  (1890)  was  a  Member  of 
Council  for  a  short  time,  and  was  a  very  keen  racing 
man.  Mr.  John  F.  Craig  (1901)  was  greatly  interested 
in  music,  and  took  a  large  part  in  the  organisation  of 
the  Singapore  Philharmonic  Society. 

Syme  and  Co.  have,  since  the  Thirties  and  'Forties, 
been  in  close  association  with  several  strong  home  and 
Eastern  firms — Murray,  Syme  and  Co.  (later  Sholfield, 
Doering  and  Co.  and  then  Sholfield,  Bolton  and  Co.), 
Liverpool ;  and  Ker,  Murray  and  Co.  (later  Ker, 
Doering  and  Co.),  Glasgow ;  and  now  Ker,  Bolton 
and  Co.,  London  apd  Glasgow ;  also  with  Ker  and  Co., 
Philippines  (established  at  Manila  in  1827  as  Strachan, 
Murray  and  Co.,  later  as  Ker,  McMicking  and  Co.,  and 
from  1846  as  Ker  and  Co.),  and  with  Pitcairn,  Syme 
and  Co.,  Java  (estabhshed  at  Batavia  in  1825). 

The  following  is  a  list  of  the  resident  partners  of 
Syme  and  Co.,  with  the  year  of  their  leaving  Singapore, 
an  asterisk  indicating  the  gentlemen  that  joined  Ker, 
Bolton  and  Co. :  Hugh  Syme,  1830  ;  *Robert  Ker,  1834  ; 
Edward  Diggles,  1834;  Thomas  McMicking,  1846; 
Nath.  P.  Rees,  1849;  *Gilbert  McMicking,  1853; 
William  Mactaggart,  1864;  James  Murray,  1868; 
James  Lyall,   1866;    William  Webster,  1872;    *  James 


Graham,  1886  (member  of  Legislative  Council  from 
1881  to  1886);  C-  W.  Conington,  1890;  *John  F. 
Craig,  1901  ;  H.  M.  March,  1894;  *James  Graham, 
jun.,  1906  ;  Alex.  M.  McNeil  (at  present,  1919,  in  Singa- 
pore), and  Robert  S.  Menzies,  19 12.  Non-resident  part- 
ners in  Syme  and  Co.  in  19 19,  in  addition  to  members 
of  Ker,  Bolton  and  Co.,  are  R.  S.  Menzies  (Sourabaya) 
and  Thos.  J.  Tayler  (Batavia).  Present  (1919)  partners 
in  Ker,  Bolton  and  Co.  are  :  Messrs.  Robert  J.  Paterson 
(London),  James  W.  Murray  (Glasgow),  C.  S.  Weir 
(Glasgow)  James  Graham  (London),  and  James  M. 
Beattie  (Glasgow).  Three  former  partners,  Messrs. 
Robert  Jardine,  John  Ross,  and  John  F.  Craig  (latter 
with  Syme  and  Co.  at  intervals  from  the  'Eighties  to 
1 901),  are  still  alive. 

Among  the  interests  with  which  the  firm  has  been 
identified  in  Singapore  is  that  of  the  trade  in  mineral 
oil  in  bulk.  Their  connection  with  this  lasted  from  its 
start  in  1891  till  1908,  during  which  time  they  repre- 
sented, as  agents,  Messrs.  M.  Samuel  and  Co.,  London, 
later  the  Shell  Transport  and  Trading  Co.,  Ltd.,  and 
then  the  Asiatic  Petroleum  Co.,  Ltd.  The  agency  ter- 
minated in  1908,  on  the  last-named  company  opening 
an  office  of  its  own  in  Singapore. 

ToMLiNSON  AND  Lermit. — Mr.  Sam  Tomlinson  came 
to  the  East  in  1886  (from  the  Bradford  Corporation), 
to  be  waterworks  engineer  at  Bombay.  He  was  ap- 
pointed Municipal  Engineer,  Singapore,  in  1 896.  Pearl's 
Hill  Reservoir  is  one  of  his  chief  works  while  in  the 
Municipahty,  and  he  negotiated  the  purchase  of  the  Gas 
Works  and  the  present  Municipal  Offices,  and  took  part 
in  the  great  Tanjong  Pagar  Arbitration  case.  He  was 
associated  with  Messrs.  Swan  and  Maclaren  in  the  new 
Europe  Hotel  and  Whiteaway's  buildings.  Mr.  A.  W. 
Lermit  joined  Crane  Bros,  from  home  in  1883,  and  in 
addition  to  furnishing  plans  for  the  Adelphi  and  Katz 
Bros,  buildings,  carried  out  important  surveys  in  Pro- 
vince Wellesley,  Johore,  and  Singapore.  He  is  the 
Nestor  of  Singapore  architects. 


White  AWAY,  Laidlaw  &  Co.  was  founded  in  Calcutta 
in  1882,  and  came  to  Singapore  in  1900,  quickly  opening 
branches  at  Penang,  Kuala  Lumpur,  Ipoh,  Taiping, 
Seremban,  Klang,  Malacca,  and  Teluk  Anson.  It 
became  a  limited  company  in  1908.  The  fine  block  of 
buildings  opposite  the  Post  Office  was  erected  for  the 
firm  in  19 10.  It  replaced  an  historic  but  somewhat 
squalid  mass  of  houses  belonging  to  the  Flint  family. 

Whampoa  &  Co.  is  a  fine  example  of  a  family  firm,  and 
is  entirely  associated  with  the  name  of  Mr.  Hoo  Ah  Kay 
Whampoa,  who  was  one  of  the  first  members  of  the 
newly  constituted  Legislative  Council.  In  1889  Mrs. 
Hoo  Ah  Kay  had  the  chief  interest  in  the  firm.  Mrs. 
Cheah  Hee  Lin  and  Chun  Chun  Fook  signed  per  pro, 
in  1895  and  Hoo  Hong  Kee  in  1905. 



By  the  Rev.   W.  Murray,  M.A. 


When  the  British  flag  was  planted  in  1819,  and  the 
Settlement  of  Singapore  began  to  develop  as  an  em- 
porium for  trade,  Christian  missionaries  came  to  it  from 
the  older  Settlement  of  Malacca,  first  as  visitors  at 
intervals,  and  then  as  residents.  Roman  Catholics, 
who  had  been  in  Malacca  since  the  days  of  Francis 
Xavier  in  the  sixteenth  century,  had  a  numerous  follow- 
ing, and  were  able  at  once  to  supply  workers  for  the  new 
Colony.  Protestant  missions  began  in  Malacca  in  181 5, 
and  Drs. Morrison,  Milne,  and  Legge,who  were  the  pioneer 
missionaries  there,  had  a  share  in  the  beginning  of 
Protestant  mission  work  here.  It  is  on  record  that  the 
Rev.  W.  Milne,  of  the  Anglo-Chinese  College,  Malacca, 
applied  for  ground  to  build  upon  as  early  as  May  18 19, 
and  received  from  Sir  Stamford  Raffles  the  sum  of  $150 
in  consideration  of  his  performing  services  as  Chaplain 
(Logan 's  Journal  IX,  p .  442 ) .  Under  these  leaders,  along 
with  John  and  Alexander  Stronach,  the  L.M.S.  (London 
Mission  Society)  estabhshed  itself.  In  1834  Singapore 
became  a  station  of  the  A. B.C. P.M.  (American  Board  of 
Commissioners  of  Foreign  Missions),  and  its  agents  were 
Tracy,  Dickinson,  Hope,  Trevelli,  and  North,  the  three 
former  working  in  the  Chinese  language  and  the  two 
latter  in  Malay.  North  was  a  practical  printer,  and  had 
a  well-furnished  printing-press.  About  the  same  time 
the  C.M.S.  (Church  Missionary  Society)  sent  the  Rev. 



Mr.  Squier  here  to  work  among  the  Chinese.  The 
American  Baptists  also  contemplated  beginning  work, 
but  there  is  no  evidence  that  they  actually  commenced  it. 

The  chief  efforts  of  these  early  Protestant  missionaries 
lay  in  the  direction  of  establishing  schools,  in  which  work 
they  were  assisted  by  the  Government  and  residents. 
Their  great  difficulty  was  in  inducing  parents  (Chinese 
and  Malay)  to  send  their  children  to  school  ;  and  when 
they  did  send  them,  to  induce  them  to  let  the  children 
stay  at  school  for  more  than  a  few  months.  They  were 
also  energetic  in  translating  portions  of  the  Scriptures 
and  tracts,  and  formed  the  Singapore  Christian  Union 
in  1 830,  under  the  auspices  of  which  tens  of  thousands  of 
Scriptures  and  tracts  were  distributed.  Very  little  was 
done  in  the  way  of  direct  preaching,  because  for  a  long 
time  there  was  no  one  competent  enough  in  the  native 
languages  to  undertake  it.  So  far  as  conversions  were 
concerned,  the  result  of  the  work  of  these  early  days  was 
practically  nil  ;  and  this  is  not  surprising  in  a  time  when 
almost  none  could  read  and  no  direct  appeal  by  preaching 
was  made. 

The  L.M.S.  Chapel  stood  at  the  corner  of  Bras  Basah 
Road  (then  called  Church  Street)  and  North  Bridge 
Road,  and  was  used  for  services  by  European  residents. 

The  work  of  the  above-mentioned  missionary  societies 
came  to  an  end  both  in  Malacca  and  Singapore  when 
China  was  opened  to  foreign  residents.  The  chief  aim 
of  these  Societies  was  to  reach  the  Chinese,  and  it  was 
only  because  China  was  at  the  time  closed  to  them  that 
missionaries  settled  in  the  Straits  at  all.  First  the 
A.B.C.F.M.  removed  its  men  to  China  in  1839  ;  and  by 
1847  ^11  th^  L.M.S.  men  had  left,  except  the  Rev.  B.  P. 
Keasberry,  who  severed  his  connection  with  the  Society 
and  continued  here  as  an  independent  and  self-sup- 
porting worker. 

Before  proceeding  to  record  the  history  of  the  various 
denominations  which  have  established  themselves  in 
the  Colony  during  the  century,  it  is  well  to  give  a  descrip- 
tion of  Mr.  Keasberry  and  his  work,  because  he  and  it 

REV.   B.   P.   KEASBERRY  237 

had  no  official  connection  with  any  of  the  denominations 
to  be  described.  He  was  for  many  years  the  only 
missionary  here,  and  his  labours  were  of  a  strikingly 
varied  and  lasting  character. 

Benjamin  Peach  Keasberry  (181 1-75)  was  the  son 
of  a  colonel  in  the  Indian  Army  who  had  been  appointed 
Resident  of  Tegal,  Java,  by  Sir  Stamford  Raffles  in 
1 8 14.  Educated  in  Mauritius  and  Madras,  he  came  to 
Singapore  and  opened  a  general  store.  But,  finding 
after  a  time  that  the  prospects  were  not  bright,  he  closed 
it,  and  took  service  as  a  clerk  in  a  British  firm  in  Batavia. 
The  sudden  death  of  a  bosom  friend  solemnised  his  mind, 
and  led  him  to  devote  himself  to  religious  work.  He 
attached  himself  to  Dr.  Medhurst,  of  the  L.M.S.  in 
Batavia,  under  whom  he  learnt  the  art  of  printing  and 
bookbinding.  In  1834,  having  received  some  money 
from  his  father's  estate,  he  went  to  America  to  college, 
and  returned  to  work  among  Malays  in  Singapore  under 
the  A. B.C. P.M.  He  remained  here  until  his  death, 
without  ever  leaving  the  Colony.  When  the  A.B.C.F.M. 
removed  their  men  to  China,  he  joined  the  L.M.S.,  and 
continued  here,  and  when  the  L.M.S.  men  were  removed, 
he  remained  as  an  independent  worker.  He  had  gathered 
round  him  a  congregation  of  Malays  and  Chinese ;  had 
Malay  boys  as  boarders  in  his  school,  among  whom  were 
some  princes  ;  had  established  a  printing-press  ;  and 
was  a  master  of  the  Malay  language.  Moreover,  he  had 
the  sympathy  of  Colonel  Butterworth,  the  Honourable 
Thomas  Church,  and  the  principal  merchants.  We  can 
well  understand  that  these  many  ties  made  him  choose 
to  sever  his  connection  with  the  L.M.S.  rather  than  leave 
Singapore.  Prince's  Street  Church  (then  known  to 
everyone  as  the  Malay  Chapel)  was  built  for  this  work 
in  1843,  the  money  being  subscribed  by  residents.  The 
opening  services  were  conducted  by  the  Rev.  Samuel 
Dyer,  of  Penang,  and  Dr.  Legge,  of  Malacca,  both  being 
missionaries  of  the  L.M.S.  From  1847  to  i860,  with  the 
exception  of  Miss  Grant  and  Miss  Cooke,  he  was  the  only 
Protestant  missionary  in  the  Colony.     For  thirty-eight 


years  he  carried  on  manifold  operations — preached  on 
Sundays,  translated  the  Scriptures,  tracts,  and  hymns, 
managed  a  printing-press,  conducted  a  day  and  boarding 
school.  He  helped  the  poor,  sometimes  beyond  the 
limit  of  his  means,  and  his  name  became  a  household 
word  with  all  sections  of  the  community.  He  died 
suddenly  while  speaking  in  his  chapel  on  the  6th  Septem- 
ber 1873,  and  was  buried  in  the  Bukit  Timah  Cemetery, 
his  grave  being  marked  by  a  stone  placed  on  it  by 
H.  H.  Abubakar,  Maharajah  of  Johore,  G.C.M.G.,  one 
of  Mr.  Keasberry's  old  scholars. 

The  Church  of  England  in  Singapore 

The  Church  of  England  in  Singapore  has  the  advantage 
and  disadvantage  of  being  an  established  church.  It 
has  had  the  advantage  of  a  salary  of  a  chaplain  being  paid 
by  the  Government  for  many  years,  after  the  example  of 
the  Indian  Establishment,  and  of  a  very  fine  church  being 
erected  and  kept  by  the  Government.  This,  which 
apphes  equally  to  Malacca  and  Penang,  has  been  a  help, 
especially  when  the  communities  were  small.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  fact  of  establishment  has  not  produced 
a  vigorous  church  life  out  here.  Instead  of  its  members 
feeling  a  personal  responsibility  and  saying  '*  we  ought 
to  do  so  and  so,"  the  theory  has  more  often  been  "  they 
ought  to  do  so  and  so,"  the  "  they  "  generally  meaning 
the  Government.  Thus  initiative  has  not  been  fostered. 
Further,  members  of  the  Church  of  England  have  devoted 
themselves  to  definite  and  purely  secular  work,  such 
as  the  Raffles  School  (which  had  a  voluntary  governing 
body  before  it  became  a  Government  school),  and  have 
not  reahsed  the  special  call  of  the  Church  to  claim  the 
nations  for  Christ.  This  is  partly  the  reason  why  the 
Church  of  England  has  lagged  so  far  behind  in  educa- 
tional and  other  works. 

When  Singapore  came  under  the  East  India  Company, 
the  territories  managed  by  that  Company  formed  part 
of  the  Diocese  of  Calcutta,  the  Bishop  of  Calcutta  then 
being  the  only  Bishop  of  the  Chui-ch  of  England  in  the 


East.  vSingapore  remained  as  part  of  the  Diocese  of 
Calcutta  till  after  the  Straits  Settlements  were  cut  off 
from  the  Indian  Empire.  It  then,  in  1868,  was  trans- 
ferred to  the  existing  Diocese  of  Labuan  and  Sarawak, 
and  the  whole  diocese  was  termed  the  Diocese  of  Singa- 
pore, Labuan,  and  Sarawak.  This  could,  of  course,  be 
only  a  temporary  measure.  This  unwieldy  diocese  was 
too  vast  to  allow  one  bishop  to  supervise  adequately 
countries  so  scattered  and  so  diverse  as  the  Straits 
Settlements,  the  Federated  Malay  States,  Sarawak,  and 
British  North  Borneo.  The  United  Diocese  of  Singa- 
pore, Labuan,  and  Sarawak  survived  two  Bishops — 
Bishop  W.  Chambers  (1868-80)  and  Bishop  Hose 
( 1 881-1908).  It  fell  to  Bishop  Hose  to  arrange  and 
provide  for  the  separation  of  the  Malay  Peninsula  from 
Labuan  and  Sarawak,  and  he  postponed  his  resignation 
•until  this  was  accomplished,  not  wishing  that  another 
Bishop  should  be  appointed  to  this  unwieldy  diocese  to 
which  he  had  been  appointed.  Consequently,  on  the 
resignation  of  Bishop  Hose,  two  separate  dioceses  were 
newly  constituted,  and  in  1909  the  Rev.  W.  R.  Mounsey 
was  consecrated  as  Bishop  of  Labuan  and  Sarawak  and 
the  Rev.  C.  J.  Ferguson-Davie  as  Bishop  of  Singapore. 
The  so-called  Diocese  of  Singapore  includes  the 
Straits  Settlements  and  the  Malay  States,  together  with 
the  British  communities  in  Siam,  Java,  Sumatra,  and 
the  adjacent  islands. 

The  first  residency  chaplain  of  the  Church  of  England 
who  was  posted  in  Singapore  was  the  Rev.  Robert  Burn, 
B.A.  He  had  arrived  in  Bencoolen  in  1825  to  be  Resident 
Chaplain  there,  in  succession  to  the  Rev.  C.  Winter,  who 
had  recently  died.  As  the  headquarters  of  the  Govern- 
ment was  being  transferred  to  Singapore,  he  was  sent 
to  the  new  Settlement  soon  after  reaching  Bencoolen. 
On  the  2  5th  August  1825  he  had  reached  Penang,  and  was 
detained  there  during  the  absence  of  the  Chaplain  of  that 
Settlement.  He,  however,  wrote  expecting  to  reach 
Singapore  early  in  1826.  During  the  latter  year  he  was 
at  work  in  Singapore,  and  a  letter  written  to  a  brother 


in  that  year  shows  that  he  did  not  find  his  people  as 
responsive  as  he  had  hoped.  The  Rev.  R.  Burn  died 
in  Singapore  in  1832,  and  is  buried  in  the  old  cemetery 
on  Fort  Canning  Hill. 

The  chaplaincy  continued  as  a  chaplaincy  of  the  East 
India  Company  till  the  British  Government  took  over 
the  rule  of  India.  Since  that  time  it  has  been  a  Govern- 
ment chaplaincy.  The  Bishop  of  Calcutta  from  time 
to  time  paid  visits  to  Singapore.  The  famous  Bishop 
Daniel  Wilson  (1832-58)  visited  Singapore  in  1834, 
when  he  took  part  in  arranging  for  the  erection  of  the 
first  St.  Andrew's  Church.  In  1838  he  came  back  to 
consecrate  the  church,  and  subsequently  visited  it  in 
1842,  1850,  and  1856.  This  first  Church  of  St.  Andrew, 
consecrated  in  1838  by  Bishop  Wilson,  stood  on  the  site 
of  the  present  Cathedral.  In  1845,  and  again  in  1849, 
the  steeple  was  struck  by  lightning,  and  in  1 8  5  2  the  church' 
was  disused,  as  the  building  was  considered  dangerous. 
In  1854  the  foundation-stone  of  the  present  Cathedral 
was  laid  by  Bishop  Wilson,  then  seventy-eight  years  of 
age,  and  on  the  25th  January  1862  his  successor  in  the 
see  of  Calcutta,  Bishop  Cotton,  consecrated  it.  The 
building  is  181  feet  long,  internal  measurement  from  the 
west  door.  Including  the  tower  it  is  226  feet  between 
the  exterior  points  of  the  building.  The  nave  and  side 
aisles  are  55  feet  wide  and  the  spire  207  feet  from  the 
base  to  the  centre  of  the  iron  cross.  It  was  designed  by 
Colonel  Macpherson,  who  was  Executive  Engineer  at 
the  time,  and  was  built  largely  by  convict  labour.  The 
site  is  very  suitable  for  a  fine  building  and  the  effect  of 
the  architecture  of  the  church  standing  in  such  an  excel- 
lent open  space  makes  it  one  of  the  most  noticeable 
features  of  Singapore.  When  the  Straits  Settlements 
were  transferred  from  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Bishop  of 
Calcutta  to  that  of  the  Bishop  of  Labuan  and  Sarawak, 
Bishop  Chambers  in  1870  made  St.  Andrew's  Church 
the  Cathedral  Church  of  the  United  Diocese. 

While  the  church  was  being  erected,  an  attempt  was 
made  in  the  building  up  of  the  body  of  the  spiritual 


n.  240] 


Church,  and  in  1856  a  mission  was  established  connected 
with  the  congregation  of  St.  Andrew's  Church.  It  was 
termed  St.  Andrew's  Church  Mission.  This  was 
strengthened  a  few  years  later  by  the  sending  out  of  a 
missionary  by  the  S.P.G.,  the  Rev.  E.  S.  Venn,  who 
arrived  in  1861.  After  his  death  there  was  no  superin- 
tendent missionary  till  the  arrival  in  1872  of  the  Rev. 
W.  H.  Gomes.  Mr.  Gomes  was  a  man  of  marked  ability, 
and  during  his  tenure  of  office  the  school,  which  has  now 
developed  into  St.  Andrew's  Boys'  School,  was  started, 
the  school  chapel  (now  St.  Peter's  Church)  was  opened 
in  1875,  while  the  S.P.G.  Mission  House  was  built  in 
1877,  and  the  Church  of  St.  John,  Jurong,  was  built 
for  a  Christian  agricultural  colony. 

In  1874  the  Church  of  England  commenced  work 
amongst  the  seamen  of  the  port,  and  the  work  was 
continued  under  three  Chaplains  to  Seamen,  but  was 
subsequently  dropped. 

In  1 88 1  Archdeacon  Hose,  the  first  Archdeacon  of 
Singapore,  who  was  then  Colonial  Chaplain  of  Singapore, 
was  consecrated  as  Bishop  of  Singapore,  Labuan,  and 
Sarawak.  During  his  occupancy  of  the  see,  St. 
Matthew's  Church, Sepoy  Lines,  was  built, and  institutions 
for  European  boys  and  girls  were  opened,  so  that  those 
who  lived  far  away  from  Singapore  might  have  a  home 
while  they  attended  the  Government  school.  The  former 
of  these,  built  in  European  style  (principally  through 
the  energy  and  liberality  of  Mr.  C.  B.  Buckley),  St. 
Andrew's  House,  Armenian  Street,  now  has  about  fifty 
boarders,  while  the  latter,  St.  Mary's  Home,  Tank  Road, 
(originally  St.  Nicholas's  Home)  is  excellently  housed  in 
a  spacious  mansion  of  a  Chinese  towkay,  which  has  been 
adapted  to  its  present  use  by  the  addition  of  dormitories 
capable  of  accommodating  about  sixty  girls.  St.  Mary's 
Home  owes  much  to  the  work  of  Archdeacon  Izard. 
It  was  during  Bishop  Hose's  time  also  that  the  Chinese 
Girls'  School  ^  on  Government  Hill,  which  now  has  over 

1  The  Chinese  Girls'  School  was  begun  under  the  L.M.S.  by  Mrs.  Dyer, 
who,  on  leaving  the  island,  handed  on  the  work  in  1843  to  Miss  Grant 


sixty  inmates,  became  part  of  the  organisation  of  the 
Church  of  England. 

During  the  last  few  years  there  has  been  a  strength- 
ening of  mission  work,  principally  through  an  organisa- 
tion known  as  the  Singapore  Diocesan  Association, 
which  aims  at  strengthening  the  various  departments 
of  work  throughout  the  diocese.  This  has  been  the 
means  of  bringing  to  Singapore  the  Rev.  J.  Romanis 
Lee,  M.A.,  Principal  of  St.  Andrew's  School,  who  has 
raised  the  school  between  191 1  and  191 6  from  a  second- 
grade  to  a  first-grade  school,  with  over  500  scholars, 
and  teaching  to  the  Cambridge  Senior  Local  Examination. 
In  mission  work  the  staff  has  been  increased  in  late  years 
by  the  addition  of  one  Tamil  and  two  Chinese  priests, 
in  addition  to  the  Rev.  R.  Richards,  the  Europeanmission- 
ary  in  charge.  It  may  here  be  noted  that  the  staff  of  St. 
Andrew's  Cathedral  had,  prior  to  the  Great  War,  been 
increased  to  three.  There  were  two  on  the  staff  twenty 
or  thirty  years  ago.  A  Medical  Mission  for  Women  and 
Children,  in  charge  of  lady  doctors,  was  founded  by 
Mrs.  Ferguson-Davie,  M.D.,  in  191 3.  There  are  about 
eight  thousand  attendances  annually  at  the  dispensaries, 
and  a  small  number  of  in-patients  are  taken.  At  the 
present  time  an  appeal  is  being  made  for  funds  to  build  a 
well-appointed  hospital  for  this  important  work,  which 
up  to  now  has  been  carried  on  in  hired  houses. 

Another  recent  branch  of  church  work  (opened  in 
1 910  by  Miss  Fitzgerald)  is  that  of  the  Girls'  Friendly 
Society,  which  has  a  club  for  girls  and  rooms  for  women 
who  are  working  in  the  town.  Miss  E.  M.  Stephenson 
is  now  in  charge  of  this. 

There  doubtless  is  room  for  far  greater  extension 
of  the  work  of  the  Church  of  England  in  Singapore. 
With  a  communicants'  roll  of  500  at  the  Cathedral  and 
250  at  the  Mission  Church,  where  services  are  held  in 

of  the  Female  Education  Society.  Miss  Cooke  took  charge  in  1853,  and 
kept  up  the  work  till  her  death  in  1895.  In  1900,  when  Miss  Gage  Brown 
was  Principal,  it  was  put  under  the  Church  of  England  Zenana  Missionary 


six  languages,  with  one  boarding-house  for  Chinese  boys 
and  one  for  Chinese  girls,  with  hostels  for  European  and 
Eurasian  boys  and  girls,  and  with  a  staff  of  seven 
European  and  three  Asiatic  clergy,  there  is  at  any  rate 
a  good  nucleus  for  a  strong  and  progressive  branch  of 
Christ's  Church.  Amongst  those  who  have  done  faithful 
work  in  Singapore,  special  reference  must  be  made  to 
six  who  worked  for  over  thirty-five  years  in  Singapore  : 
Bishop  Hose  as  Chaplain,  Archdeacon,  and  Bishop  ( 1 868- 
1908) ;  Miss  Cooke  and  Miss  Ryan  in  the  Chinese  Girls' 
School;  the  Rev.  W.  H.  Gomes,  B.D.,  in  the  Mission  ; 
Mr.  Edward  Salzmann,  for  forty-four  years  organist  at 
the  Cathedral ;  and  Mr.  C.  B.  Buckley,  who  spent  nearly 
fifty  years  in  the  East,  and  who,  starting  with  a  small 
class  in  Sunday  school  as  a  young  man,  became  the 
friend  of  generations  of  people  in  the  town. 

The  Catholic  Church 

the  french  mission 

I .  The  Cathedral  of  the  Good  Shepherd 

The  first  missionary  to  visit  the  Catholics  of  Singapore 
appears  to  have  been  Father  Imbert,  who  was  on  his 
way  to  China  in  December  1821,  and,  at  the  request  of 
the  Vicar  Apostohc  of  Siam,  called  at  the  new  Colony, 
founded  two  years  previously,  remaining  there  a  week. 
He  afterwards  wrote  to  Monseigneur  Florens  that  he 
had  found  there  about  a  dozen  Catholics. 

In  1824  the  Catholics  of  Singapore  applied  to  Mgr. 
Florens  for  a  priest.  But  the  Bishop,  being  in  doubt  as 
to  whether  the  island  of  Singapore  was  comprised  in  his 
diocese,  referred  to  the  Propaganda  for  directions,  and 
jurisdiction  was  conferred  on  him  by  a  decree  of  His 
Holiness  Pope  Leo  XII,  dated  the  22nd  September 
1 827,  confirmed  by  another  decree  of  Pope  Gregory  XVI, 
on  the  3rd  January  1840. 

Matters,  however,  remained  in  statu  quo  until  the 
arrival  of  Mgr.  Bruguiere,  Bishop  of  Capsa,  Coadjutor 
for  Siam.     He  had  called  at  Singapore  in  1831,  on  his 


way  from  Bangkok  to  Penang.  Before  leaving  Singa- 
pore on  the  return  journey,  in  1 832,  he  entrusted  the  new 
flock  to  the  care  of  Father  Clemenceau,  who  had  then 
recently  arrived  from  France.  He  likewise  wrote  to 
Father  J.  B.  Boucho  to  come  down  from  Penang  and 
settle  certain  difficulties. 

On  the  1 8th  October  1832  Father  Boucho  succeeded 
in  obtaining  from  the  Resident,  Mr.  Bonham,  a  site  for 
a  church  at  Bras  Basah  Road,  where  St.  Joseph's  Insti- 
tution now  stands.  The  good  Father  lost  no  time  in 
inviting  public  subscriptions,  and  returned  shortly  after 
to  Penang.  The  church  was  begun  by  Father  J.  P. 
Courvezy,  and  completed,  on  the  9th  June  1833,  by 
Father  E.  R.  Albrand,  who  also  built  a  small  vicarage. 
Prior  to  tha  t  missionaries  saidMass  in  the  house  of  one 
Mr.  MacSwiney. 

In  the  course  of  a  few  years  the  new  church  was  found 
inadequate  for  the  rapidly  increasing  congregation,  and 
it  was  therefore  decided  to  convert  it  into  a  school,  and 
to  build  a  church  elsewhere.  A  site  at  the  corner  of 
Bras  Basah  Road  and  Victoria  Street  was  granted  by 
Government  on  the  20th  July  1842,  and  the  foundation- 
stone  of  the  present  Cathedral  of  the  Good  Shepherd  was 
laid  there  on  the  i8th  June  1843.  The  vicarage,  which 
later  became  the  Bishop's  house,  was  completed  in  1859 
by  Father  J.  M.  Beurel. 

Mgr.  Courvezy,  on  being  appointed  Vicar  Apostolic 
of  Siam,  resided  at  Singapore  from  1838  to  1843.  It 
was  during  this  period,  viz.  on  the  20th  October  1839, 
that  Father  Beurel,  the  real  founder  of  the  parish  of  the 
Good  Shepherd,  arrived.  On  the  loth  September  1841 
the  missionary  province  of  Siam  was  divided  into  two 
dioceses.  Mgr.  Courvezy  became  the  first  Vicar  Apos- 
tolic of  Malaya,  which  was  then  ecclesiastically  known 
as  Western  Siam,  but  subsequently  as  the  Malayan 

On  the  2 1  St  December  1843  Bishop  Courvezy  left 
the  mission  field  for  France,  and  did  not  return.  Father 
Boucho,  who  had  for  the  past  twenty  years  ministered 


to  the  Catholics  of  the  Peninsula,  then  took  charge  of 
the  diocese  as  Pro-Vicar  Apostolic.  Subsequently,  in 
August  1845,  he  was  appointed  Bishop,  and  was  con- 
secrated at  Calcutta  as  Bishop  of  Athalia  and  Vicar 
Apostolic  of  the  Malayan  Peninsula.  On  his  return  he 
continued  to  reside  at  Penang  until  his  death. 

Bishop  Boucho  was  succeeded  by  Bishop  Michael 
Esther  Le  Turdu,  who  at  first  also  resided  in  Penang, 
but  later,  on  the  3rd  July  1 87 1 ,  took  up  residence  in  Singa- 
pore, which  Settlement  has  ever  since  been  the  head- 
quarters of  his  successors.  He  returned  to  Europe, 
owing  to  ill-health,  early  in  1877,  and  died  at  the  Semi- 
nary in  Paris  shortly  after  his  arrival,  in  the  fifty-first  year 
of  his  age,  and  after  having  laboured  twenty-seven  years 
in  the  East. 

His  successor,  Mgr.  fidouard  Gasnier,  came  to  the 
Straits  as  Vicar  Apostolic  in  1878.  It  was  during  his 
tenure  of  office  that  the  old  title  "  Bishop  of  Malacca  " 
was  re-established  by  His  Holiness  Pope  Leo  XIII,  and 
as  a  consequence  the  Vicarate  Apostolic  of  the  Malayan 
Peninsula  became  the  Diocese  of  Malacca.  Permission 
was  granted  by  the  Holy  See  to  the  new  Bishop  to  make 
Singapore  his  residence,  and  the  Church  of  the  Good 
Shepherd  his  Cathedral.  About  the  same  time,  by  an 
Ordinance  No.  XI  of  1888,  passed  by  the  Legislative 
Council  of  the  Straits  Settlements  on  the  1 5  th  November, 
"  The  Titular  Roman  Catholic  Bishop  of  Malacca, 
resident  in  the  Straits  Settlements  "  was  made  a  corpor- 
ate body.  This  Ordinance  was  repealed  and  replaced, 
with  extended  privileges,  by  another  Ordinance  passed 
on  the  31st  May  1910  (No.  XV  of  1910),  which  gave  a 
proper  status  to  the  Mission.  Bishop  Gasnier  died  in 
Singapore  after  several  years'  illness,  on  the  8th  April 
1896,  and  was  buried  in  his  Cathedral.  His  funeral  was 
very  largely  attended,  H.E.  the  Governor,  Sir  Charles 
B.  Mitchell,  the  Consuls,  and  other  officials  being 

The  Right  Rev.  R.  Fee,  who  succeeded  Bishop  Gasnier, 
was  the  first  Bishop  consecrated  in  the  Cathedral  of  the 


Good  Shepherd.  This  unique  ceremony  was  held  on 
the  22nd  November  1895.  Two  other  important  events 
also  took  place  shortly  after.  The  first  was  the  visit 
of  the  Papal  Delegate,  Monseigneur  Zaleski,  who  arrived 
in  Singapore  on  the  ist  January  1897.  The  visit  of 
this  distinguished  prelate  was  much  appreciated  by  all 
the  Catholics  of  the  place.  The  other  event  was  the 
consecration  of  the  Cathedral,  which  had  been  enlarged 
to  its  present  dimensions  in  1888.  Bishop  Gasnier  had 
often  expressed  a  wish  to  perform  this  ceremony  himself, 
but  was  unable  to  carry  out  his  intentions,  owing  at 
first  to  a  debt  remaining  on  the  church,  and,  later,  owing 
to  his  continuous  ill-health.  It  was  therefore  left  to 
his  successor.  Bishop  Fee,  to  perform  the  ceremony  on 
the  14th  February  1897.  Bishop  Fee  had  charge  of  the 
See  of  Malacca  till  his  death,  which  took  place  in  France 
in  January  1904. 

His  Holiness  Pope  Pius  X  was  then  pleased  to  appoint 
the  Right  Rev.  E.  Barillon  to  the  vacant  See  of  Malacca. 
His  Lordship  was  consecrated  in  Paris,  and  arrived  in 
Singapore  on  the  2 1  st  November  1 904.  The  new  Bishop 
was  no  stranger  to  the  Mission,  having  already  for  eight 
years  laboured  in  the  diocese,  both  at  Penang  and  Singa- 
pore. He  was  now  returning  to  the  Straits  after  an 
absence  of  twelve  years,  spent  in  Paris  in  the  formation 
of  aspirants  to  missionary  work. 

In  April  1905  an  exchange  of  land  was  effected 
between  the  Mission  and  the  Government,  the  Mission 
giving  up  all  their  land  lying  on  the  line  of  extension  of 
Queen  Street,  and  receiving  in  its  place  a  portion  of  the 
land  situated  behind  the  Maternity  Hospital. 

Bishop  Barillon  celebrated  his  Sacerdotal  Silver  Jubilee 
in  September  1909  ;  it  was  attended  by  thirty-five 
French  priests  and  about  two  thousand  people. 

This  short  history  of  the  French  Catholic  Cathedral 
would  be  incomplete  without  mention  of  Bishop  C. 
Bourdon.  Born  in  1834,  Bishop  Bourdon  was  ordained 
in  i860  and  appointed  Bishop  of  Upper  Burma  in  1872. 
After  fifteen  years'  arduous  work  in  that  mission,  he 


retired  owing  to  ill-health.  He  recuperated  for  some 
time  in  Hongkong,  but  finally,  on  the  invitation  of 
Bishop  Gasnier,  made  Singapore  his  permanent  home. 
As  Chaplain  to  the  troops  and  to  the  General  Hospital, 
he  rendered  good  service  for  many  years,  and  endeared 
himself  to  all  those  with  whom  he  came  in  contact. 
His  Lordship  celebrated  his  Sacerdotal  Jubilee  on  the 
1 8th  September  1910,  being  then  seventy-six  years  of 

2.  The  Chinese  Church  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul,  Queen 


The  first  Catholic  missionary  to  labour  among  the 
Chinese  of  Singapore  was  Father  E.  Albrand.  This 
zealous  priest  gave  himself  unreservedly  to  the  good 
work  during  the  years  1833-5.  He  was  subsequently 
appointed  Vicar  Apostolic  of  Kwei-Chow.  Father 
Albrand 's  work  was  ably  carried  on  by  Father  John 
Chu,  a  Chinese  priest  ordained  in  Bangkok  by  Bishop 
Courvezy  and  brought  by  him  to  Singapore  in  1839. 
Other  pioneer  missionaries  of  those  days  were  Father 
A.  Maudit  and  Father  F.  Issaly  ;  the  former  arrived 
in  1844  and  the  latter  in  1847. 

The  Church  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul,  with  its  tower,  was 
erected  by  Father  P.  Paris  in  1869-70.  Heretofore 
the  Chinese  and  Indian  Catholics  had  attended  the 
"  Good  Shepherd,"  but  this  arrangement  ceased  on  the 
completion  of  the  new  church,  as  both  these  communities 
repaired  thither.  It  is  said  that  the  cost  of  the  com- 
pound wall  of  the  church  was  defra3^ed  by  the  Emperor 
Napoleon  III. 

In  1883  Father  Paris  purchased  the  three  beautiful 
bells  which  are  still  in  use,  but  the  state  of  his  health 
prevented  him  from  being  present  when  the  bells  were 
blessed.  He  died  shortly  afterwards,  on  the  23rd  May 
1883,  and  was  buried  in  his  church.  Four  years  pre- 
viously the  remains  of  Father  Issaly,  who  had  died  in 
Hongkong  in  1874,  had  been  translated  here  and  in- 
terred in  the  same  church.  These  two  missionaries 
II — 17 


are  regarded  as  the  founders  of  this  fine  parish,  and  their 
memory  is  still  held  in  high  veneration  by  the  elderly 
Chinese  Catholics  of  Singapore.  The  spire  of  the  belfry 
and  the  present  vicarage  are  the  work  of  Father  L. 

Father  F.  Vignol  in  1891  built  an  extension,  and  this 
notwithstanding  the  fact  that  the  Indian  community 
had  a  few  years  previously  withdrawn  to  their  own 
beautiful  Church  of  Our  Lady  of  Lourdes.  He  like- 
wise erected  three  marble  altars,  the  High  Altar  being 
consecrated  by  Bishop  Gasnier. 

Joseph  Chan  Tek  Yi  in  1897  purchased  the  grounds 
adjoining  the  church,  and  erected  thereon,  at  his  own 
expense,  the  eleven  houses  known  as  St.  Joseph's 
Houses  for  the  accommodation  of  catechists,  widows, 
and  the  aged.  In  1910  he,  in  conjunction  with  Low 
Gek  Seng,  defrayed  also  the  cost  of  enlarging  the  church 
gallery,  erecting  a  porch,  and  extending  the  facade. 

Altogether  about  forty  young  missionaries  have 
passed  through  the  Church  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul, 
the  majority,  however,  remaining  just  long  enough  to 
acquire  a  knowledge  of  the  Chinese  language. 

3.  The  Chinese  Church  of  the  Sacred  Hearty  Tank  Road 

Prior  to  1910  the  Church  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul 
was  the  parish  church  of  all  the  Chinese  Catholics  of 
the  town  of  Singapore.  But  notwithstanding  its  great 
size,  it  had  nevertheless  become  too  small  for  the  con- 
gregation, ever  on  the  increase.  It  had,  moreover, 
enjoyed  the  privilege  of  having,  so  to  speak,  two  vicars  : 
the  holder  of  the  office  looking  after  the  Teh-Chews 
and  the  Hok-kiens,  and  Father  V.  Gazeau,  who  minis- 
tered to  the  Khehs  and  the  Cantonese.  Another 
church  for  the  two  last-named  sections  of  the  Chinese 
CathoUc  population  was  sorely  needed.  After  many 
efforts  a  suitable  site  was  acquired  close  to  Tank  Road 
Railway  Station,  but  it  was  far  from  spacious.  Father 
Gazeau  had  great  difficulty  in  obtaining  the  funds 
requisite  for  building,  and  it  was  some  years  before  he 


could  utilise  the  site.     He  erected  first  the  vicarage, 
also  used  as  an  orphanage,  and  then  the  church. 

The  foundation-stone  of  this  new  church  was  laid  on 
the  14th  June  1908,  and  the  blessing  of  the  entire 
edifice  took  place  on  the  nth  September  19 10.  Since 
that  date  the  Church  of  the  Sacred  Heart  has 
become  the  parish  church  of  the  Khehs  and  the  Can- 

4.  The   Tamil  Church  of  Our  Lady  of  LourdeSj  Ophir 


The  Indian  Catholics  of  Singapore  were  for  a  long 
time  without  a  church  of  their  own.  They  attended 
the  Cathedral  of  the  Good  Shepherd,  and  later  on  the 
Church  of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul,  where  Father  Paris 
attended  to  them  as  well  as  to  the  Chinese. 

When  Father  J.  Meneuvrier,  who  was  the  first  mis- 
sionary to  have  exclusive  charge  of  the  Tamil  congre- 
gation, arrived  in  1883,  a  small  house  situated  in  Water- 
loo Street  served  him  both  as  a  dwelling-place  and  a 
school.  This  house  was  later  on  occupied  by  Father 
Gazeau,  and  subsequently  demolished  by  the  Christian 
Brothers  to  make  room  for  the  extension  of  their 

In  1885,  the  Government  granted  a  site  in  Ophir 
Road.  The  foundation-stone  of  the  new  church, 
dedicated  to  Our  Lady  of  Lourdes,  was  laid  on  the 
I  St  August  1886,  and  the  church,  together  with  the 
vicarage  and  school,  erected  beside  it,  was  opened  in 


I.  The   Chinese  Parish   of  Bukit    Timah,   St.   Joseph's 


In  1846  Father  A.  Maudit,  assisted  by  Father  Beurel, 
built  a  church  and  took  up  permanent  residence  here. 
The  Church  of  St.  Joseph,  which  exists  to  this  day, 
was  erected  in  1852-3.  Father  Maudit  may  be 
regarded  as  the  founder  of  this  parish,  which  he  ad- 


ministered  till  his  death  in  1858.  He  was  buried  in 
the  church,  which  later  was  to  receive  the  mortal 
remains  of  several  other  missionaries.  The  present 
vicarage  was  built  by  Father  Perie  in  1852. 

2.   The    Chinese   Parish    of  Seranggong,    Church    of  the 
Nativity  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary 

The  Seranggong  parish  was  founded  by  Father 
Maistre  about  the  year  1853,  for  the  earhest  baptisms 
recorded  in  the  registers  go  back  to  the  Christmas  of 
that  year.  The  parish  church  was  some  seven  miles 
from  Singapore  town.  Father  Maistre  first  erected  a 
small  attap  building,  to  which  he  added  a  room  for  the 
purpose  of  his  catechism  classes.  The  congregation 
becoming  more  numerous,  he  next  determined  to  build 
a  church.  The  project  happily  matured,  and  within 
a  short  time  the  good  Father  had  the  satisfaction  of 
seeing  a  brick  church  erected.  Father  Issaly  later 
added  to  this  church  a  ceihng  and  verandah.  In  1880 
Father  Page  replaced  the  old  attap  construction  by  a 
parochial  house  of  wood,  raised  on  brick  pillars. 

Father  C.  Saleilles,  who  succeeded  Father  L.  Page, 
erected  a  new  catechism  hall,  to  which  were  attached 
quarters  suitable  for  a  boys'  and  girls'  school.  Finally, 
he  set  about  the  erection  of  the  present  fine  Gothic 
church  with  its  triple  nave  and  belfry,  the  latter  being 
visible  from  a  considerable  distance,  towering  above 
the  surrounding  country.  The  foundation-stone  was 
laid  on  the  2nd  August  1898,  and  three  years  later 
the  church  was  solemnly  consecrated.  In  1908  a  second 
storey  was  added  to  the  old  church,  which  was  now 
superseded  and  converted  into  the  present  vicarage. 

The  parish  of  Seranggong  has  a  branch  church  at 
Ponggol,  situated  three  miles  away,  on  the  shore  of 
the  Johore  Straits,  where,  in  1904,  Father  Saleilles 
built  a  chapel  and  house  for  the  benefit  of  about  twenty 
Catholic  famihes  scattered  in  the  neighbourhood. 

The  Catholic  population  of  Singapore  Island  under 
the  jurisdiction  of  the   Bishop   of  Malacca   is   about 


8,900  :  Cathedral  of  the  Good  Shepherd,  3,000  ;  Church 
of  SS.  Peter  and  Paul,  2,200  ;  Church  of  the  Sacred 
Heart,  1,150;  Our  Lady  of  Lourdes,  1,000;  Serang- 
gong  Church,  1,200  ;   Bukit  Timah,  350. 

All  the  missionaries  are  members  of  the  Societe  des 
Missions  Etrangeres,  which  was  founded  in  Paris  in 
1659  ;  according  to  the  annual  report  for  19 16  it  now 
numbers  in  all  46  Bishops  and  1,258  missionaries  in  the 
Far  East. 

In  1857  a  Procure  house  was  estabhshed  in  Singapore 
at  the  corner  of  River  Valley  Road,  to  take  charge  of 
the  temporal  affairs  and  general  administrative  work 
of  the  Society. 

ST.  Joseph's  institution 

This  Catholic  educational  estabhshment  was  founded 
in  the  year  1852  by  the  Rev.  Father  J.  M.  Beurel, 
who  was  very  anxious  to  ensure  to  the  boys  entrusted 
to  his  care  the  advantages  of  a  sound  religious  and 
secular  education.  As  far  back  as  1841  we  find  him 
working  with  a  view  of  securing  the  services  of  the 
Christian  Brothers  for  educational  purposes  in  Singa- 
pore. The  Superior-General  of  the  Congregation,  who 
was  then  residing  in  Paris,  appeared  to  have  been 
more  or  less  opposed  to  the  project  ;  but  the  Rev. 
Father  did  not  desist  from  his  purpose,  and  finally 
proceeded  in  person  to  Paris  to  plead  his  cause.  His 
journey  was  not  fruitless,  for  towards  the  close  of  March 
1852  he  returned  to  the  scene  of  his  labours  with  six 
Brothers,  three  of  whom  were  destined  for  Singapore, 
and  the  others  for  St.  Xavier's,  Penang,  an  analogous 

The  Brothers  lost  no  time  in  getting  to  work,  and  the 
first  classes  were  held  in  the  disused  old  church  at 
No.  8  Bras  Basah  Road.  Though  intended  primarily 
for  Catholic  children,  the  school  was  nevertheless  open 
to  all,  irrespective  of  religion,  and  in  a  short  time 
became  very  popular  with  the  Singapore  community. 
In  1 863  the  school  received  official  recognition  from  the 


Government,  as  also  an  annual  grant.  In  the  same  year, 
too,  school  fees  began  to  be  charged.  The  old  church 
building  proving  inadequate  for  the  ever-growing 
needs  of  the  school,  it  was  determined  to  provide  a 
building  more  in  keeping  with  the  requirements  of  the 
times.  This  project  was  happily  brought  to  a  successful 
issue  by  the  Rev.  Brother  Lothaire,  Director,  in  1867. 
The  school  grew  and  prospered,  notwithstanding  pe- 
cuniary and  other  difficulties,  until  1881,  when,  owing 
to  local  differences  and  misunderstandings,  the  Brothers 
withdrew,  and  for  the  space  of  about  four  years  the 
establishment  was  run  by  lay  masters.  The  Brothers 
returned  in  1885.  In  1898  it  was  deemed  advisable 
to  extend  the  building,  but  for  various  reasons  the 
project  was  postponed  until  the  Rev.  Brother  Michael 
took  charge  two  years  later.  This  enterprising  Director 
at  once  set  to  work,  with  the  result  that  very  soon 
the  two  semi-circular  wings  were  added  to  the  central 
portion.  The  work  was  carried  on  in  co-operation 
with  the  late  Rev.  Father  Nain,  who  drew  the  plans 
and  supervised  the  construction. 

The  school  now  entered  on  a  period  of  prosperity 
and  activity.  New  pupils  flocked  in  numbers,  the 
results  of  the  public  examinations  were  very  encouraging, 
especially  those  for  the  Queen's  Scholarships,  the 
number  of  Brothers  increased,  the  class-rooms  were 
congested,  and  the  need  of  the  hour  was  for  more  space. 
Government  was  approached  in  1906,  and  showed  itself 
very  sympathetic.  The  new  school  fronting  Waterloo 
Street  was  erected  in  1907,  at  a  cost  of  $37,000.  Towards 
this  sum  the  Government  generously  gave  $20,000, 
the  balance  being  contributed  by  friends  and  bene- 
factors, conspicuous  amongst  whom  were  the  Chinese. 
The  last  effort  of  Brother  Michael  to  bring  the  school 
up  to  date  was  the  erection  of  the  beautiful  hall  and 
chapel  at  the  rear  of  the  main  building.  The  school 
celebrated  its  Diamond  Jubilee  in  191 2,  and  the  occasion 
was  availed  of  by  its  old  pupils  to  found  a  Diamond 
Jubilee  Scholarship  for  the  Cambridge  classes.     Besides 


this  scholarship,  there  are  four  others  available  for  the 
boys  attending  the  higher  classes. 

There  are  at  present  over  1,200  boys  distributed 
among  thirty-two  classes  attending  the  school.  A 
pleasing  feature  of  recent  years  is  the  large  number  of 
pupils  attending  the  secondary  classes.  This  is  par- 
ticularly the  case  with  the  commercial  class,  where, 
besides  learning  the  usual  business  subjects,  the  pupils 
qualify  for  the  L.C.C.  certificates.  The  recent  changes 
in  the  Cambridge  Local  syllabus  have  made  a  second 
language  compulsory,  and  French  is  taken  by  all  the 
boys  in  the  higher  division.  One  effect  of  the  War  has 
been  that  the  number  of  Brothers  has  considerably 
decreased.  There  is  a  flourishing  boarding  establish- 
ment attached  to  the  Institution  ;  the  boys  are  under 
the  direct  supervision  of  the  Brothers,  who  pay  par- 
ticular attention  to  their  moral  and  intellectual  well- 

The  physical  side  of  education  finds  its  scope  and 
action  on  the  football  and  tennis  grounds  attached  to 
the  Institution.  The  boys  compete  yearly,  in  a  series 
of  inter-class  football  matches,  for  the  school  cup,  and 
thus  the  old  maxim  mens  sana  in  corpore  sano  is  never 
lost  sight  of.  Quite  recently  a  school  cadet  corps  has 
been  established.  Altogether  the  prospects  at  present 
are  bright,  and  the  authorities  look  to  the  future  with 
hope  and  confidence. 


The  Fathers  of  the  Society  of  the  Foreign  Missions 
finding  it  absolutely  necessary  to  get  help  for  missionary 
work  amongst  the  girls  of  Singapore,  the  Rev.  Father 
Beurel  went  to  France,  and  approached  the  Rev.  Mother- 
General  of  the  Sisters  of  the  Holy  Infant  Jesus  for 
assistance.  His  request  was  granted,  and  four  Sisters 
left  France  for  the  East ;  but  only  three  of  these  reached 
their  destination,  as  the  Superior  of  the  little  band  died 
on  the  way,  and  was  buried  at  sea.  The  three  that 
arrived  at  Singapore  in  March  1852  were,  to  the  great 


disappointment  of  the  Rev.  Father  Beurel,  sent  to 
Penang,  where  their  first  house  was  founded.  Soon 
after  another  Httle  band  of  Sisters  set  out  from  South- 
ampton, and,  after  a  weary  journey  across  the  desert 
in  caravans,  arrived  eventually  in  Penang  ;  one  of 
these,  Sister  St.  Mathilde,  was  appointed  Superior  of 
the  Convent  there. 

In  February  1854  Rev.  Mother  St.  Mathilde,  with 
three  Sisters,  arrived  in  Singapore  to  start  the  Convent 
here.  They  received  many  orphans,  did  needlework 
for  the  ladies  of  the  town  in  a  hastily  organised  work- 
room, and  lived  very  poorly ;  but  the  need  of  financial 
help  making  itself  felt,  a  paying  boarding  school  was 
opened.  This  was  a  great  success,  and  the  number  of 
children  increased  rapidly.  Help  was  sent  from  the 
parent  house  in  France,  and  new  batches  of  Sisters 
arrived  at  various  dates,  all  anxious  to  help  in  the  great 
work  of  redemption  of  souls. 

On  the  7th  January  1876  Rev.  Mother  St.  Mathilde 
was  appointed  Superior  of  the  Yokohama  Convent, 
which  she  had  founded  two  years  previously.  She  was 
succeeded  in  Singapore  by  the  Rev.  Mother  Gaetan,  who 
ably  filled  the  office  of  Superior  from  1876  to  1892. 
Under  her  care  the  different  good  works  established 
went  on  developing,  and,  when  the  existing  house  became 
too  small,  she  had  a  new  wing  erected  to  accommodate 
the  paying  boarders  and  pupils  of  the  new  important 
school,  to  which  the  children  of  Singapore  flocked  in 
large  numbers.  In  1892  this  good  Reverend  Mother 
left  for  England  to  procure  help  for  her  good  work  in 
Singapore  ;  but,  to  the  great  regret  of  all  who  -knew 
her,  she  died  in  London  on  the  22nd  August  of  the  same 

Rev.  Mother  St.  Hombeline,  who  was  already 
Mistress  of  Novices  from  1887,  was  then  elected  Superior 
of  the  Singapore  Convent.  Her  zeal  and  devotedness 
were  quite  equal  to  that  of  her  regretted  predecessor, 
and  the  Convent  went  on  growing.  The  orphanage  and 
day  school  developed  even  more  rapidly.     Accommo- 


dation  not  being  sufficient,  another  wing  was  added  to 
the  already  extensive  establishment,  and  toward  this 
the  Government  contributed  $20,000.  A  beautiful 
chapel  was  erected,  thanks  to  the  generosity  of  many 
kind  friends  and  benefactors. 

At  present  the  orphanage  contains  about  200  children, 
not  to  speak  of  many  Chinese  babies  who  are  received 
in  the  creche.  The  number  of  children  attending  the 
school  has  increased  apace  with  recent  years,  and  at 
present  there  are  about  700  children  on  the  registers. 
The  school  is  under  Government  control,  and  pupils  are 
prepared  for  the  Cambridge  Locals. 

On  the  8th  November  191 6  Rev.  St.  Hombeline  died 
suddenly  of  apoplexy.  Her  unexpected  end  was  a 
great  shock  to  all,  and  her  loss  is  deeply  mourned  by 
the  children  and  people  of  Singapore,  in  whose  interest 
she  worked  for  so  many  years. 


The  rise  and  growth  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  Singa- 
pore under  the  Portuguese  Fathers  date  back  to  the 
earlier  days  of  Malacca,  the  oldest  of  the  seaports  of 
the  Straits ;  after  the  conquest  by  the  explorer  Afonso 
d 'Albuquerque,  a  wide  field  was  opened  for  missionary 
enterprise  in  the  East. 

In  1557  was  created  the  Diocese  of  Malacca  (subject 
to  the  Arch-diocese  of  Goa),  the  Church  of  Our  Lady 
of  the  Assumption  there  being  made  a  Cathedral  and 
a  body  of  Canons  appointed  for  it  by  a  Bull  of  His 
Holiness  Pope  Paul  IV,  dated  the  4th  February  of 
that  year,  which  at  the  same  time  placed  the  Diocese 
under  the  patronage  of  the  Crown  of  Portugal. 

With  the  capture  of  Malacca  by  the  Dutch  in  1641  the 
Diocese  of  Malacca  disappeared,  and  every  other  trace 
of  Catholicism  was  extirpated  with  the  utmost  vigour 
by  the  adherents  of  Calvinism  ;  and  it  was  not  till 
i795>  when  Malacca  passed  from  Dutch  to  British  rule, 
that  the  Catholic  religion   breathed   again  the  air  of 


freedom  of  which  it  had  been  deprived  for  a  century 
and  a  half. 

Upon  the  occupation  of  Singapore  by  Sir  Stamford 
Raffles  in  1819a  great  incentive  was  given  to  immigra- 
tion, and  missionary  activity  developed  apace.  Thus, 
in  1822,  we  hear  of  the  first  Portuguese  Catholic  priest, 
Padre  Jacob,  coming  from  Malacca  and  obtaining  from 
Sir  Stamford  Raffles  a  site  for  a  church  in  Singapore, 
and,  although  it  appears  that  he  did  not  succeed  in 
erecting  the  church,  we  may  justly  infer  that  from  that 
year  he  took  the  Catholic  residents  under  his  care. 

The  Rev.  Francisco  da  Silva  Pinto  e  Maxia,  of  Oporto, 
Portugal,  was,  however,  the  first  to  settle  as  Catholic 
Pastor  in  Singapore,  where  he  arrived  from  Macao  on  the 
7th  April  1825,  and  he  is  commonly  held  to  have  been 
the  founder  of  the  Portuguese  Mission  here.  Having 
obtained  the  necessary  powers  from  the  Archbishop  of 
Goa,  he  built  and  opened  for  worship  a  small  church  on 
the  spot  where,  up  to  191 2,  stood  the  Parochial  House, 
but  which  is  to-day  incorporated  in  the  St.  Anthony's 
Convent.  Father  Maxia  worked  zealously  at  the 
development  of  his  mission  for  twenty-five  years  in 
Singapore,  and  died  on  the  17th  February  1850,  being 
buried  in  the  Old  Cemetery,  Fort  Canning,  whence  his 
remains  were  afterwards  transferred  to  the  Church  of 
San  Jose  when  it  was  built.  A  few  weeks  before  his 
death  he  had  been  made  a  Knight  of  the  Portuguese 
Order  of  Christ.  He  bequeathed  all  his  money,  and 
part  of  the  land  forming  the  present  church  compound 
at  Victoria  Street,  w^hich  he  had  bought  with  his  own 
moneys,  to  the  Mission  for  the  erection  of  the  Church  of 
St.  Jose,  the  other  part  having  been  granted  to  him 
for  the  same  purpose  by  the  East  India  Company. 

He  was  succeeded  by  Father  Vicente  de  Santa 
Catharina,  who  lost  no  time  in  taking  in  hand  the 
building  of  the  church,  which  he  saw  completed  in  1853, 
at  a  cost  of  about  $15,000,  being  principally  moneys 
left  by  Father  Maxia,  supplemented  by  $2,000  from 
the  King  of  Portugal  and  local  subscriptions. 


In  1868,  with  the  help  of  subscriptions  from  the  com- 
munity, along  with  the  munificent  gift  of  $9,000  received 
from  the  Portuguese  Government,  the  Parochial  House 
underwent  extensive  repairs,  and  two  transepts  were 
added  to  the  Church. 

A  long-felt  want  in  this  mission  was  supplied  in  1879, 
when  Father  Jose  Pedro  Sta  Anna  da  Cunha  estab- 
lished, in  a  small  house  in  Middle  Road,  a  school  for 
children  of  both  sexes  called  St.  Anna's  School, 
which  later,  in  1886,  was  moved  into  a  new  building 
erected  in  the  precincts  of  the  church  compound  and 
named  St.  Anthony's  Boys'  and  Girls'  School,  the 
local  Government  contributing  a  grant  of  $4,000  towards 
its  expenses. 

In  November  1893  the  boys'  school  was  separated 
from  the  girls'  school,  which  had  a  staff  of  lady  teachers 
of  its  own,  and  was  under  the  control  of  the  Fathers  of 
the  Portuguese  Mission  up  to  1 894,  when  the  Canossian 
Nuns  arrived  from  Macao  and  took  over,  and  have 
since  remained  in  sole  charge  of  it.  The  present  com- 
bined average  enrolment  of  the  two  mission  schools  is 
640  pupils  in  the  lower  and  higher  elementary  classes. 

In  1886  His  Holiness  Pope  Leo  XIII,  by  his  con- 
stitution '^HumanaeSalutis  Auctor,"  and  by  a  Concordata 
with  the  King  of  Portugal  (subsequently  confirmed  by 
a  decree  dated  the  20th  August  1887),  severed  the 
Portuguese  Mission  in  the  Straits  from  the  Archbishopric 
of  Goa  and  incorporated  it  in  the  Diocese  of  Macao  ; 
the  Bishop  of  Macao  thenceforward  holds  personal,  and 
not  territorial,  jurisdiction  over  his  subjects  in  Singapore 
and  Malacca  ;  the  churches  and  other  edifices  con- 
nected with  them  are  at  the  same  time  classed  in  the 
category  of  "  exempted,"  i.e.  completely  independent 
of  the  jurisdiction  of  the  territorial  Bishop. 

The  increase  in  the  numbers  of  the  Portuguese  Mission 
followed  pari  passu  with  the  progress  and  development 
of  the  new  Settlement,  and  thus  in  1890  the  modest 
Httle  church  built  by  Father  V.  de  Santa  Catharina  being 
found  no  longer  to  suffice  for  such  a  large    and  ever- 


increasing  congregation,  it  was  decided  to  build  a  more 
spacious  one,  but  the  subscriptions  did  not  warrant 
taking  the  work  in  hand  soon.  When,  however,  the 
Bishop  of  Macao,  Dom  Joao  PauHno  d'Azevedo  e 
Castro,  made  his  first  pastoral  visit  to  Singapore  in  1904, 
the  subject  was  again  revived  and  discussed,  and  His 
Lordship,  in  full  sympathy  with  the  cause,  laid  the 
foundation-stone  of  a  new  church  on  the  21st  August 
of  that  same  year. 

In  1906  the  old  church  was  pulled  down  and  the  con- 
struction of  the  new  taken  in  hand.  Notwithstanding  the 
great  and  many  difficulties  arising  especially  from  the 
lack  of  funds  for  a  work  of  such  magnitude,  the  new  and 
imposing  Church  of  St.  Joseph,  measuring  212  feet  in 
length  and  60  feet  across  the  nave,  capable  of  seating 
with  ease  1,500  persons,  with  a  central  octagonal  tower 
surmounted  by  a  dome  and  flanked  by  two  smaller 
towers,  was  at  last  blessed  and  opened  on  the  30th  June 
191 2.  The  congregations,  thankful  for  the  invaluable 
assistance  received  from  Bishop  Castro,  who  died  in 
Macao  on  the  17th  February  191 8,  and  to  whose  untiring 
efforts  is  due  the  successful  completion  of  the  new 
church,  have  decided  to  erect  in  his  honour  a  brass 
memorial  tablet,  which  will  soon  be  fixed  in  a  prominent 
part  of  the  church. 

Connected  with  the  Portuguese  Mission,  and  known 
as  "  St.  Anthony's  Bread,"  is  a  charitable  association 
also  founded  by  the  late  Bishop  in  1904,  which  has 
during  the  last  fourteen  years  saved  many  an  indigent 
family  from  distress.  About  sixty  poor  families  receive 
regular  monthly  supplies  of  rice  and  money  (some  also 
house-rent  and  medical  treatment)  from  the  funds  of 
the  Association. 

The  Cathohc  population  of  the  parish  of  St.  Joseph 
in  Singapore  numbers  at  present  nearly  3,000,  under  the 
care  and  charge  of  three  priests,  one  of  whom  is  the 
Superior  and  Vicar-General.  An  interesting  feature  of 
this  parish  is  the  language  spoken,  which  is  a  dialect 
called  "  Malacca   Portuguese,"   brought    by  the  early 


n. 258] 


immigrants  from  Malacca,  and  used  by  all,  without  dis- 
tinction, in  their  homes.  The  preaching  in  church  is 
also  in  Portuguese  at  the  Low,  and  in  EngHsh  at  the 
High  Mass  on  Sundays. 

The  Armenian  Church 

The  first  services  of  the  Armenian  Church  in  Singapore 
were  held  in  1 821,  in  a  room  behind  where  John  Little 
and  Co.  now  is,  and  later  on  in  a  room  where  Powell 
and  Co.  now  stands.  The  first  priest  was  the  Rev. 
Eleazar  Ingorgohe. 

In  1835,  a  site  at  the  corner  of  Coleman  Street  and 
Hill  Street  having  been  granted  by  the  Government, 
the  present  building  was  erected  to  the  design  of  Mr. 
G.  D.  Coleman.  It  cost  a  httle  over  $5,000,  the  money 
being  subscribed  by  Armenians  in  Calcutta,  Java,  and 
Singapore,  as  well  as  by  some  of  the  European  residents 
in  the  Colony.  The  building  was  consecrated  on  the 
26th  March  1836,  being  the  anniversary  of  St.  Gregory, 
the  first  monk  of  the  Armenian  Church,  and  was  dedi- 
cated to  that  saint.  This  church  has  thus  the  distinc- 
tion of  being  the  oldest  ecclesiastical  building  in  the  city. 

Until  about  twenty-five  years  ago  the  church  was 
maintained  entirely  by  monthly  voluntary  subscrip- 
tions from  the  congregation.  As,  however,  the  Ar- 
menians were  a  fluctuating  section  of  the  community, 
there  was  the  fear  that  a  time  might  come  when  these 
monthly  subscriptions  would  prove  insufficient  to  defray 
the  expenses  of  the  church.  It  was  therefore  proposed 
by  the  late  Mr.  Galistan  Edgar,  a  rich  and  prominent 
Armenian  resident,  that  an  endowment  fund  be  estab- 
lished ;  and  he  suggested  that  Armenians  contribute 
a  certain  percentage  (say  2  per  cent.)  of  their  incomes 
to  it.  The  suggested  system  was  not  carried  out,  but 
voluntary  donations  came  in  liberally,  and  now  the  en- 
dowment produces  a  monthly  income  almost  sufficient 
to  meet  the  priest's  salary  and  other  expenses.  It  is 
hoped  that  in  a  few  years  time  the  church  will  be 
entirely  self-supporting  from  this  method.     Mr.  Thadeus 


Paul  and  the  late  Mr.  T.  Sarkies  (of  Raffles  Hotel)  worked 
hard  to  make  this  fund  a  success. 

The  affairs  of  the  church  are  managed  by  a  committee, 
consisting  of  the  warden  and  two  trustees,  elected  by  the 
congregation  once  every  two  years,  and  all  the  church 
property  is  vested  in  them.  The  church  maintains  a 
priest  and  a  verger,  and  bears  all  the  expenses  for  the 
upkeep  of  the  church  and  the  priest's  house.  The  priest 
is  sent  out  by  the  Armenian  Archbishop  of  Persia  and 
India,  who  has  his  ecclesiastical  see  in  Julfa,  Ispahan, 
Persia,  and  has  jurisdiction  over  all  the  Armenian 
churches  in  India  and  the  regions  beyond.  The  juris- 
diction was  granted  to  him  by  the  Catholics  when  the 
Armenians  began  to  emigrate  to  India  and  the  Far 
East,  and  estabUshed  churches  in  Calcutta,  Decca, 
Madras,  Bombay,  and  other  places.  The  priest  in  Singa- 
pore is  usually  sent  out  for  a  term  of  three  years,  but 
at  the  request  of  the  congregation  this  term  is  very 
often  extended. 

The  priest's  house  is  in  the  church  compound,  and 
part  of  it  is  devoted  to  the  occupation  of  poor  Armenians 
passing  through  Singapore.  The  building  formerly 
occupied  as  priest's  quarters  had  become  too  old  and 
too  small  for  its  purpose  ;  and  in  1905  Mrs.  Sarkies, 
the  widow  of  the  late  Mr.  John  Sarkies,  a  rich  merchant 
of  Singapore  and  Java,  very  generously  offered  to  erect 
a  new  building  at  her  own  expense.  The  old  quarters 
were  consequently  demolished  and  replaced  by  the 
present  fine  new  building,  which  has  added  greatly 
to  the  comfort  of  the  priest.  It  was  opened  on  the  1 5th 
September  1905,  and  consecrated  to  the  memory  of 
the  late  Mr.  John  S.  Sarkies.  A  marble  commemora- 
tion tablet  in  the  Armenian  language  is  on  the  wall  of 
the  hall  of  the  building. 

Early  in  1909  the  church  and  priest's  quarters  were 
fitted  with  electric  light  and  fans,  the  whole  cost  being 
borne  by  Mr.  Seth  Paul,  a  partner  in  the  firm  of  Messrs. 
Stephen  Paul  and  Co.  This  was  the  first  church  in 
Singapore  to  have  an  electric  installation. 


Presbyterianism  in  Singapore 
i the  church 

In  the  early  years  of  the  Colony,  Presbyterians, 
who  have  always  formed  an  important  section  of  the 
European  community,  worshipped  with  Episcopalians 
in  the  mission  chapel  of  the  London  Missionary  Society 
at  the  corner  of  Bras  Basah  Road  (then  called  Church 
Street)  and  North  Bridge  Road,  opposite  the  present 
Raffles  Girls'  School.  The  services  were  conducted 
by  the  resident  missionaries,  by  visiting  clergymen, 
and  later,  by  the  Government  Chaplain.  In  1834, 
when  it  was  proposed  to  erect  an  Episcopal  church 
worthy  of  the  Colony,  and  for  which  the  Government 
had  provided  a  site,  Presbyterians  gave  substantial 
support  to  the  scheme. 

In  November  1846  the  Scotsmen  of  the  Colony, 
among  whom  were  representatives  of  the  three  leading 
denominations  of  the  homeland — Established  Church, 
Free  Church,  and  United  Presbyterian  Church — at  a 
numerous  and  harmonious  meeting  resolved  to  get  a 
minister  for  European  work  from  any  of  the  Scottish 
churches.  The  meeting  also  passed  a  resolution  assur- 
ing the  Chaplain  (Rev.  Mr.  Moule)  that  the  step  they 
were  taking  was  not  to  be  interpreted  as  dissatisfaction 
with  him,  but  as  preference  for  their  own  denomi- 
nation. The  inference  is  that  Presbyterians  were 
accustomed  at  that  time  to  attend  the  worship  in  St. 
Andrew's  Church.  The  newspapers  gave  friendly  sup- 
port to  the  scheme,  assuring  Presbyterians  that  members 
of  the  Church  of  England  would  show  towards  them 
the  same  liberality  as  they  had  shown  when  St.  Andrew's 
Church  was  being  built. 

It  was  ten  years  before  this  resolution  bore  fruit, 
the  reason  probably  being  that  the  strain  on  the  home 
churches  consequent  on  the  disruption  of  1 843  precluded 
them  from  responding  to  the  appeal  from  this  distant 
colony.  Local  Presbyterians  were  not  numerous 
enough  to  undertake  the  adequate  support  of  a  minister 


themselves  ;  and,  unlike  Episcopalians,  they  have 
never  had  Government  assistance  in  the  payment  of 
their  clergy.  As  compensation,  however,  for  the  loss 
of  Government  aid,  the  Presbyterian  Church  has  liberty 
to  select  its  ministers  from  the  Free  Churches  as  well  as 
the  Established  Church  of  the  homeland. 

The  subject  was  revived  in  1854,  when  a  committee 
was  appointed  to  raise  the  necessary  funds  and  secure 
a  pastor.  The  Rev.  Dr.  Guthrie,  whose  praise  was  in 
all  the  churches  of  that  day,  and  whose  name  has  been 
long  a  household  word  in  Scotland,  by  special  request 
selected  the  first  minister,  and  since  his  arrival  in  1856 
there  has  been  a  regular  succession  of  services  until  the 
present  day. 

The   following   are   the   successive   ministers   of  the 
church   and   their   term   of    tenure   of    the   pastorate  : 
Rev.  T.  Mackenzie  Eraser,  M.A.  (1856-60)  ;   Rev.  John 
Mathison     (1861-6)  ;      Rev.     W.     Jeffrey     (1866-9) 
Rev.   Matthew  J.   Copland   (1870-71)  ;    Rev.  WilHam 
Dale  (1871-5)  ;    Rev.  William  Aitken,  M.A.  (1876-83) 
Rev.  A.  S.  McPhee,  B.D.  (1883-9)  ;  Rev.  G.  M.  Reith 
M.A.  (1889-96)  ;   Rev.  S.  S.  Walker,  M.A.  (i  896-1 906) 
Rev.  J.  A.  Gray,  M.A.  (1906-9)  ;    Rev.  W.  Runciman 
M.A.    (1909-13);     Rev.    John    Vance,    M.A.    (1914) 
Rev.  William  Cross,  M.A.  (191 5-19). 

When  Presbyterian  services  commenced,  the  use  of 
the  temporary  Residency  Chapel  was  kindly  conceded 
to  the  congregation  by  the  local  Government.  Later, 
they  were  held  in  the  L.M.S.  Chapel,  in  Bras  Basah 
Road.  In  1866  the  Presbyterian  Church  bought  the 
property  from  the  L.M.S.,  and  continued  to  use  it  till 
1876,  when  it  was  sold.  For  a  while  services  were 
held  in  the  Town  Hall,  and  in  1878  the  present  church 
in  Stamford  Road  was  erected  on  a  site  donated  by  the 

In  the  course  of  its  career  the  Presbyterian  Church 
has  been  the  recipient  of  some  benefactions,  (i)  In 
1879  Mr.  Thomas  Dunman,  the  Commissioner  of 
Pohce,  made  a  gift  of  land  known  as  D unman 's  Corner, 


at  the  junction  of  Bras  Basah  Road  and  North  Bridge 
Road,  on  a  part  of  which  stands  Bethesda  and  the  Chinese 
Gospel  House.  The  lease  is  for  a  term  of  999  years 
from  1827,  and  it  is  sub-leased  to  various  tenants  for 
ninety-nine  years  from  1859.  (2)  In  1887  a  fine  organ 
was  presented  by  Mr.  Thomas  Cuthbertson  in  memory 
of  his  wife.  (3)  In  1892  Mr.  John  Baxter,  Lloyd's 
Marine  Surveyor,  a  native  of  Port  Glasgow,  and  a  well- 
known  character  in  the  Colony,  bequeathed  money  for 
the  purchase  of  the  Manse  in  Cavenagh  Road.  (4)  In 
1905  a  legacy  of  $3,200  was  received  from  Dato  Meldrum, 
of  Johore.  (5)  In  19 10  a  generous  friend,  who  does 
not  wish  his  name  disclosed,  made  a  gift  of  $2,000  in 
4 J  per  cent.  Municipal  Debenture  Stock. 

The  property  of  the  church  was  held  by  trustees 
under  the  Presbyterian  Church  Ordinance  of  1876 
until  1899,  when  it  was  incorporated  by  law  in  the 
person  of  the  Treasurer  for  the  time  being. 

Until  1872  the  church  had  only  a  nominal  connection 
with  the  home  churches,  but  from  that  date  it  has  been 
affiliated  with  the  Presbyterian  Church  of  England,  and 
is  enrolled  as  a  congregation  of  the  Presbytery  of  London 
(North).  The  Presbyterian  Church  of  England  is  in 
close  federal  relation  with  the  Scottish  Churches,  and 
inasmuch  as  Singapore  merchants  on  being  transferred 
home  invariably  settle  in  London,  it  was  considered 
advisable  to  be  attached  to  the  London  Presbytery, 
so  that  the  congregation  here  might  still  be  in  touch 
with  them,  and  have  them  to  represent  its  interests  in 
the  Church  Courts. 

During  the  course  of  its  history,  Congregationalists, 
Baptists,  and  Methodists  have  formed  no  inconsiderable 
part  of  the  congregation  ;  and  some  have  been  pro- 
minent office-bearers.  Thus,  the  Presbyterian  Church 
has  in  a  measure  occupied  in  Singapore  a  place  analogous 
to  that  of  the  Union  Church  in  Hongkong  or  Shanghai. 

At  the  present  time  the  church  has  entered  upon  an 
actively   aggressive   career.     It   has   purchased   a   site 
for   extension   work   in   the   rising   suburb    of   Keppel 
II— 18 


Harbour,  and  initiated  services  in  Malacca  and  the 
State  of  Johore,  besides  rendering  aid  in  the  planting 
of  a  new  church  in  Kuala  Lumpur. 

Among  many  who  have  rendered  in  their  lifetime 
conspicuous  service  to  the  church  as  office-bearers, 
but  have  now  passed  away  from  us,  mention  should 
be  made  of  Colonel  Dunlop,  J.  Guthrie  Davidson, 
Alex.  Johnston,  W.  Grigor  Taylor,  W.  McKerrow, 
Andrew  Currie,  Charles  PhilHps,  and  Arthur  Knight. 
The  last-named  died  in  1916,  having  a  record  of  fifty- 
six  years'  membership  of  the  church  and  thirty-six 
years  in  the  office  of  Secretary  to  the  Board  of  Managers. 


The  Presbyterian  congregation  from  the  first  year 
of  its  existence  has  taken  a  practical  share  in  missionary 
efforts.  In  1856  it  maintained  Tan  See  Boo,  one  of 
the  first  converts  in  China  by  the  Rev.  W.  C.  Burn, 
as  a  catechist.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  house 
for  this  catechist  was  provided  by  the  Episcopal  con- 
gregation. This  was  because  an  attempt  was  made  at 
that  time  to  have  a  united  Chinese  Church,  and  the 
converts  were  baptised  alternately  by  the  ministers 
of  the  Episcopal  and  Presbyterian  Churches ;  but  the 
plan  did  not  succeed,  and  two  Chinese  congregations 
were  eventually  formed.  Besides  working  in  the  city 
itself,  the  catechist  associated  himself  with  the  Rev. 
B.  P.  Keasberry  in  opening  a  preaching  station  at 
Bukit  Timah. 

In  1 861  the  Rev.  Alex.  Grant,  M.A.,  a  Presbyterian 
missionary  from  Amoy,  came  here  for  work.  But  in 
1 866  he  and  Tan  See  Boo  both  resigned  their  connection 
with  the  Presbyterian  Church,  and  founded  the  Brethren's 
Mission.  The  congregation  also  interested  itself  in  the 
Rev.  B.  P.  Keasberry 's  work  among  Chinese  immigrants. 
Straits  Chinese,  Tamils,  and  Malays,  and  on  his  death  in 
1875  the  Rev.  Wilham  Young,  a  former  Presbyterian 
missionary  in  Amoy,  took  over  his  work,  and  continued 
it  for  ten  years,  supporting  himself  by  teaching.     Mr. 


Young  during  these  years  was  a  member  and  office- 
bearer in  the  Presbyterian  Church. 

In  1872,  when  the  congregation  joined  the  Presby- 
terian Church  of  England,  it  petitioned  the  Foreign 
Mission  Committee  of  that  church  for  a  European 
missionary  for  Chinese  work,  and  the  petition  was  strongl}^ 
supported  by  the  missionaries  of  the  E.P.  Church  in 
Amoy  and  Swatow,  the  districts  from  which  most  of 
the  Chinese  immigrants  came.  Also,  in  1879,  the  con- 
gregation formally  took  over  work  at  Bukit  Timah. 
At  length,  in  1881,  the  Foreign  Missions  Committee 
appointed  the  Rev.  J.  A.  B.  Cook  to  work  here  among 
the  Chinese,  and  he  has  been  so  engaged  ever  since. 

When  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Cook  arrived,  the  small  Chinese 
congregation  at  Bukit  Timah  of  thirty-nine  members 
was  the  only  missionary  work  directly  connected  with 
the  Presbyterian  Church.  But  the  work  began  to  spread . 
Churches  were  opened  in  the  districts  of  Tek-kha,  Tan- 
jong  Pagar,  and  Serangoon  in  1883  J  in  Johore  in  1885  \ 
in  Muar  in  1893  ;  i^i  Paya  Lebar  in  1904  ;  and  in  Seletar 
in  1908.  Moreover,  in  1885  the  Rev.  W.  Young  left 
Singapore,  and  handed  over  to  Mr.  Cook  the  work  in 
Prinsep  Street  Church,  which  was  mostly  among  Malay- 
speaking  and  Enghsh-speaking  Chinese.  The  mission 
has  now  a  membership  of  500  communicants,  or  900 
including  baptised  children.  One-half  of  its  ten  con- 
gregations are  self-supporting.  In  1904  H.E.  Sir  John 
Anderson  laid  the  foundation-stone  of  the  church  in 
Tanjong  Pagar  Road,  which  has  become  under  the  Rev. 
Tay  Sek  Tin  a  centre  of  important  social  service  for 
the  Hokkien  community. 

Other  workers  have  been  associated  with  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Cook  for  longer  or  shorter  periods  from  time  to 
time.  In  1890  the  Rev.  A.  Lamont,  M.A.,  B.D.,  was 
appointed  to  work  among  the  Hokkien  community, 
Mr.  Cook's  work  being  among  the  Teo-Chews.  He 
opened  the  Eastern  school  in  1 894,  which  promised  to  be 
the  commencement  of  important  educational  work. 
When  Mr.  Lamont  left  the  Colony  in  1897,  Mr.  H.  F. 


Rankin,  M.A.,  was  placed  in  charge ;  but  three  years 
later  Mr.  Rankin  became  Principal  of  the  Anglo-Chinese 
College  in  Amoy,  and  the  work  of  the  Eastern  school 
was  given  up.  The  Rev.  W.  Murray  was  ajppointed  in 
1902  for  work  among  the  Straits  Chinese  community, 
and  still  continues  it.  Others  who  have  assisted  in  the 
Mission  from  time  to  time  are  Revs.  H.  L.  Mackenzie, 
D.  Sutherland,  J.  Steele,  and  C.  V.  Moody,  and  the 
Misses  Macmahon  and  Lecky. 

More  than  passing  reference  should  be  made  to  the 
Straits  Chinese  congregation  which  worships  in  Prinsep 
Street  Church.  The  building,  which  dates  from  1842, 
was  the  scene  of  the  labours  of  the  Rev.  B.  P.  Keasberry, 
for  many  long  years  the  only  Protestant  missionary  in 
the  Colony.  There  is  a  catholic  atmosphere  about  the 
place,  for  its  walls  contain  memorial  tablets  to  Congre- 
gationalists.  Episcopalians,  and  Presbyterians  who  wor- 
shipped and  worked  together  there.  The  founder  of  the 
Straits  Chinese  congregation  here  may  be  said  to  have 
been  Song  Hoot  Kiam,  who  was  one  of  the  first  six  con- 
verts of  modern  Protestant  missions  from  among  the 
Chinese.  He  was  a  pupil  of  Dr.  Legge  in  Malacca,  and  was 
taken  home  by  his  teacher  to  school  in  Huntly,  Aberdeen- 
shire, where  he  was  baptised.  Returning  to  the  East,  he 
settled  in  Singapore  in  1847,  ^^^  was  an  earnest  Chris- 
tian worker  till  his  death  in  1900,  at  the  age  of  seventy. 
His  children,  grandchildren,  and  great-grandchildren  are 
still  pillars  of  the  church.  Other  conspicuous  leaders  in 
this  congregation  have  been  Mr.  Tan  Kong  Wee  and 
Mr.  Foo  Teng  Quee,  the  latter  being  head  of  the  Hylam 
community  for  many  years.  The  congregation  has 
always  had,  and  still  has,  among  its  members  gifted 
preachers.  The  Malay  hymn-book  used  in  the  services 
is  the  joint  work  of  the  Rev.  B.  P.  Keasberry  and  Mr. 
Charles  Phillips.  Mr.  PhilHps  was  an  accomplished 
Malay  speaker,  and  for  many  years,  until  his  death  in 
1904,  helped  in  the  services.  In  1 881  the  Presbyterian 
Mission  acquired  the  property,  and  took  over  the  super- 
vision of  this  historic  congregation.    A  Chinese  preacher's 


house  has  been  erected  in  the  compound,  and  regular 
services  in  Chinese  added  to  those  in  Malay  and  English 
each  Sunday.  In  1904  the  Straits  Chinese  erected  a 
Widows'  and  Orphans'  Home  adjoining  the  church,  and 
also  a  hall  for  meetings  of  the  Chinese  Christian  Associa- 
tion, which  has  been  carrying  on  useful  work  in  the 
community  since   1896. 

The  Methodist  Episcopal  Church  and  Mission 

In  1884  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church,  which  had 
large  missionary  operations  in  India  and  China,  resolved 
to  open  work  in  Singapore,  with  a  view  to  extension 
later  to  the  Malay  Peninsula.  Although  no  mission 
funds  were  available  for  the  enterprise,  Dr.  Thoburn,  the 
foremost  missionary  of  the  Church  in  India,  did  not  feel 
thereby  deferred  from  entering  so  promising  a  field, 
but  believed  such  work  as  they  contemplated  would 
not  fail  for  want  of  local  support.  With  the  Rev.  W.  F. 
Oldham,  he  arrived  in  Singapore,  and  held  a  series  of 
meetings  in  the  Town  Hall  in  February  1885.  Not  only 
did  the  two  pioneers  meet  with  a  considerable  measure  of 
sympathy  from  members  of  the  Christian  community  and 
the  active  support  of  such  of  them  as  were  Methodists, 
but  also  people  of  various  nationalities  gathered  to  the 
meetings,  and  being  stirred  by  the  Gospel  message 
became  enquirers  and  candidates  for  church  membership. 
After  a  stay  of  three  weeks.  Dr.  Thoburn  returned  to 
India,  leaving  his  colleague  in  sole  charge  of  the  work. 
Mr.  Oldham  was  a  keen  educationist,  and  won  the 
sympathy  quickly  of  Chinesemerchants  who  were  anxious 
for  education  for  their  children.  He  and  Mrs.  Oldham 
opened  a  school,  which  became  rapidly  self-supporting. 
Chinese,  Tamils,  Malays,  Eurasians,  and  Europeans 
came  as  the  pupils,  and  out  of  this  educational  work  there 
arose  opportunities  for  evangelistic  work,  which  were 
eagerly  used. 

The  work  which  then  began  has  developed  to  enor- 
mous proportions.  It  has  spread  to  Penang,  Malacca, 
the  Federated  Malay  States,  the  Dutch  East  Indies,  and 


Borneo.     But  for  the  purpose  of  this  history  we  confine 
attention  to  its  activities  in  Singapore. 

(i)  Education. — ^The  Anglo-Chinese  School  began  with 
thirty-six  boys,  and  under  a  series  of  energetic  principals, 
Oldham,  Kelso,  Banks,  Lyons,  Buchanan,  Pease,  Mansel, 
and  Nagle,  has  gone  from  strength  to  strength,  until  now 
it  has  an  enrolment  of  i,8oo  scholars,  including  branch 
schools  which  have  been  opened  in  recent  years  in 
Serangoon,  Gaylang,  and  Paya  Lebar  districts.  A  new 
and  large  development  is  now  taking  place  in  the  creation 
of  a  college  f(3r  higher  education,  for  which  a  site  at 
Keppel  Harbour  has  been  secured,  and  of  which  the  plans 
are  already  advanced.  Besides  the  schools  for  boys,  two 
for  girls  have  been  established.  Short  Street  and  Fair- 

(2)  Evangelism. — Soon  after  his  arrival  in  Singapore 
the  Christian  Institute  in  Middle  Road  was  handed  over 
to  Mr.  Oldham,  and  has  become  the  centre  of  work  among 
the  Straits  Chinese.  Services  in  Tamil  and  Chinese  have 
been  estabhshed  in  other  parts  of  the  city.  Several 
institutions  have  also  been,  opened,  and  have  become 
effective  evangelistic  agencies  :  Oldham  Hall,  a  boarding 
establishment  for  boys  ;  the  Nind  Home,  a  boarding 
establishment  for  girls,  and  a  centre  for  woman's  work 
of  many  kinds  ;  and  the  Bible- Women's  Training  School. 

(3)  The  Publishing  House. — It  was  early  seen  that  there 
would  be  a  great  demand  for  religious  literature  in 
many  languages  for  use  in  the  cosmopolitan  community 
of  the  Colony  and  Malaysia,  and,  therefore,  a  printing- 
press  was  reckoned  a  necessity.  The  pioneer  worker 
in  this  department  has  been  the  Rev.  W.  G.  Shellabear, 
D.D.  He  came  to  Singapore  as  an  officer  in  the  Royal 
Engineers  to  work  at  the  harbour  defences,  and,  being 
deeply  religious,  was  much  distressed  by  the  ignorance 
of  Christianity  among  the  native  communities.  He 
resigned  his  commission,  in  spite  of  the  remonstrances 
of  friends,  and  threw  himself  into  the  work  which  the 
Methodists  were  beginning.  On  the  advice  of  Mr. 
Oldham  he  went  to  England,  and  studied  the  art  of 

REV.  DR.  she;i,i.abear. 

n.  268] 


printing.  Returning  in  1890,  he  began  the  work  of  the 
Methodist  Press,  which  has  since  grown  to  large  pro- 
portions. Nearly  a  hundred  men  are  now  employed 
by  it,  and  literature  in  about  twelve  languages  issued 
from  it.  Mr.  Shellabear  made  a  special  study  of 
languages,  and  produced  much  of  the  literature  which  the 
press  printed.  His  vocabularies,  dictionaries,  text- 
books, translations  of  hymns  and  other  religious  works 
are  widely  used.  Quite  recently,  by  arrangement  with 
the  British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society,  he  has  issued  a 
version  of  the  New  Testament  in  Baba  Malay,  and  he  is 
now  engaged  on  a  similar  translation  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment. By  this  press  the  Rev.  W.  G.  Shellabear,  and  his 
successor  in  the  office  of  Superintendent  (Rev.  W.  T. 
Cherry),  have  done  a  memorable  service  to  all  the 
churches  and  missions  of  the  Colony. 

'  (4)  Wesley  Church. — From  the  beginning  of  the  Mission 
regular  services  in  English  have  been  held.  In  1886 
a  church  and  manse  were  built  on  land  granted  by  the 
Government  in  Coleman  Street.  The  church  was  opened 
in  January  1887,  and  continued  in  use  till  1909,  when  the 
building  was  taken  for  the  increasing  work  of  the  school, 
and  a  new  church  and  manse  were  built  in  Fort  Canning 
Road,  the  land  being  a  grant  from  Government. 

The  name  of  the  Rev.  W.  F.  Oldham,  D.D.,  will  ever 
be  associated  with  the '  history  of  the  Colony.  Of 
European  parentage,  he  was  born  and  brought  up  in 
India,  and  in  his  youth  was  on  the  staff  of  the  survey 
service  of  the  Indian  Government.  After  his  conversion 
he  and  his  wife  resolved  to  devote  themselves  to  mission- 
ary work,  and  went  to  America  to  complete  their 
education.  On  their  return  to  India  the  Methodist 
Church  selected  them  to  begin  the  work  in  Singapore. 
Arriving  here,  he  speedily  won  influence  with  all  sections 
of  the  community  by  his  pubhc  spirit,  broad-mindedness, 
unceasing  activity,  and  his  fluency  in  thought  and  speech . 
The  Chinese  were  eager  to  have  him  as  tutor  for  them- 
selves and  their  children,  and  freely  supported  him  with 
money  for  his  educational  and  even  religious  enter- 


prises.  Among  these  Mr.  Tan  Keong  Saik  and  Mr. 
Tan  Jiak  Kim  were  conspicuous.  After  laying  the 
foundations  in  Singapore  of  Methodist  missions, 
which  have  spread  now  over  the  adjoining  mainland 
and  islands,  he  was  chosen  a  Bishop  of  the  church,  with 
the  oversight  of  work  in  India,  Malaya,  the  Archipelago, 
and  the  Philippines.  Lately  he  has  been  appointed  to 
the  oversight  of  Methodist  missions  in  South  America. 

The  name  of  Miss  Blackmore  will  also  never  be  for- 
gotten in  connection  with  the  work.  An  Australian 
by  birth,  she  gave  herself  to  a  missionary  career  under 
the  influence  of  an  American  lady  evangelist,  and  arrived 
in  India  in  that  lady's  company  at  the  time  when  the 
new  field  in  Singapore  was  being  opened.  An  appeal 
for  women  workers  for  Singapore  had  been  sent  to 
America,  and  roused  the  enthusiasm  of  Mrs.  Mary  Nind, 
of  Minnesota,  who  pledged  the  ladies  of  her  State  for  the 
planting  of  a  mission  to  Singapore  women.  Thus  the 
worker  and  her  work  were  simultaneously  provided. 
She  arrived  in  1887,  and  one  of  the  local  newspapers 
welcomed  her  in  these  words  :  "  The  Methodist 
Mission  has  done  already  during  its  brief  existence  among 
us  such  a  large  amount  of  good  work  among  hitherto 
neglected  classes  of  the  community  that  any  increase 
in  its  well-being  will  be  hailed  with  satisfaction  by  the 
friends  of  enlightenment-"  {Straits  Times ,  27th  July 
1887).  Ill  organising  house-to-house  visitation  and 
opening  schools  for  girls  she  found  a  big  field  for  work. 
She  also  established  a  boarding-school  for  girls  (known 
as  the  Nind  Home),  which  crowns  the  summit  of  Mt. 
Sophia.  Some  ninety  girls  are  boarded  there,  while  in 
the  two  large  day  schools  several  hundreds  are  being 
educated.  She  has  completed  a  long  term  of  thirty 
years'  work  in  the  city,  and  her  name  is  a  household  word 
in  the  Colony. 

The  following  dates  indicate  the  steady  and  rapid 
development  of  Methodist  missions  here  : 

1885.     Malaysia  Mission  founded. 

1889.     Malaysia  Mission  organised. 


1893.     Malaysia  Mission  Conference  organised. 

1902.     Malaysia  Annual  Conference  organised. 

1905.  Philippine  Islands  District  divided  from 
Malaysia  Annual  Conference. 

191 8.  Dutch  East  Indies  District  divided  from  Malay- 
sia Annual  Conference. 

The  present  administrator  of  the  Malaysia  Mission  is 
Bishop  J.  E.  Robinson,  D.D.,  who  was  associated  with 
it  as  a  visiting  official  in  its  earlier  days.  The  Mission 
has,  through  its  entire  area,  nearly  5,000  members, 
exclusive  of  adherents,  and  enrols  almost  10,000  pupils 
in  its  day  schools.  For  a  more  detailed  history  of  the 
Methodist  Mission  reference  should  be  made  to  Bishop 
Thoburn's  India  and  Malaysia  and  Bishop  Oldham's 
Malaysia,  Nature^s  Wonderland. 


On  the  3rd  July  1 864,  in  the  Mission  Rooms,  Bencoolen 
Street,  the  inception  of  the  Gospel  work  now  carried  on  in 
Bethesda  took  place.  The  interesting  record  of  that 
inception  is  written  in  the  Church  Register,  from  which 
we  quote  :  "A  few  believers  who  had  been  led  to  see 
the  duty  as  well  as  privilege  of  assembling  together  on 
the  first  day  of  the  week  after  the  manner  of  the  earliest 
churches  planted  by  the  Apostles,  viz.  for  the  breaking 
of  bread,  and  Christian  worship,  were  meeting  privately 
for  these  exercises.  Seeing,  however,  that  such  a 
gathering,  profitable  though  it  might  be  for  their  own 
souls,  could  not  be  a  sufficient  witness  for  Christ  in 
showing  forth  His  death  to  others,  or  give  an  opportunity 
of  preaching  the  Gospel  to  those  who  have  not  already 
embraced  it,  and  which  is  the  bounden  duty  of  every 
Christian  church,  they  were  led  to  seek  the  opening  of  a 
place  of  worship  where  these  desiderata  could  be  enjoyed. 
Believing  that  ,the  revealed  and  inspired  Word  of  God  is 
a  sufficient  rule  not  only  for  faith  but  practice,  they 
formed  no  written  creed,  trusting  by  the  Spirit  of  God 
to  be  led  into  all  truth,  and  desiring  to  be  known  among 


men  by  no  other  name  than  Christians  ;  meeting  thus 
simply  as  beUevers  in  Christ,  they  have  maintained 
that  the  spiritual  ordinances  are  only  to  be  received  by 
spiritual  persons,  and  that  the  number  of  these  spiritual 
ones  may  be  increased  by  God's  divinely  appointed  way 
of  preaching  the  Gospel."  During  the  first  year  nearly 
two  hundred  meetings  were  held,  they  being  variously 
attended,  sometimes  crowded  to  the  doors,  while  at  other 
times  it  had  literally  been  but  the  *'  two  or  three 
gathered  together." 

A  Sunday  School  was  established  with  success.  In 
1866  it  became  apparent  that  the  Mission  Rooms  in 
Bencoolen  Street  were  inadequate  for  the  assembly's 
purpose,  and  so  it  was  decided  to  build  a  meeting-place. 
And  on  Lord's  day,  the  30th  September  1866,  the  new 
hall,  Bethesda,  was  opened  in  Bras  Basah  Road  at 
6.30  a.m.  by  a  special  season  of. prayer.  The  church 
record  says  that  Bethesda  was  lit  with  gas  on  the  20th 
February  1867. 

Within  a  few  months  of  the  opening  of  Bethesda, 
namely  about  May  1867,  the  building  was  found  to  be 
inconveniently  small  for  the  congregation,  and  it  was 
proposed  to  enlarge  it  forthwith,  increasing  the  seating 
capacity  from  about  sixty  to  about  a  hundred  and  fifty. 
This  enlargement  was  speedily  accomplished,  much  to 
the  satisfaction  of  the  congregation.  In  June  1867 
much  interest  was  shown  in  the  baptism  of  a  Malay. 

In  the  course  of  a  few  years  Bethesda,  which  had 
been  built  of  wood,  fell  a  prey  to  white  ants,  and  was 
before  long  quite  unusable  for  services.  The  believers, 
forced  by  these  circumstances  from  their  meeting- place, 
found  a  home  in  the  Hok  Im  Koan,  i.e.  the  Chinese 
Gospel  House,  North  Bridge  Road.  It  is  a  matter  of 
interest  to  note  some  of  the  names  of  those  who  were 
amongst  the  first  members  of  Bethesda,  and  also  of 
those  who  were  associated  in  the  ministry  of  the  Gospel : 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Phihp  Robinson  (Mr.  Robinson  was  the 
founder  of  the  firm  of  Robinson  and  Co.,  Raffles  Place) ; 
Mr.  J.  L.  Wheatley,  Assistant  to  the  Colonial  Medical 



n.  272] 


Department,  and  later  in  the  Johore  Medical  Depart- 
ment (in  later  years  he  became  surgeon  in  s.s.  Hong  Moh, 
and  died  at  sea  on  the  20th  July  1909)  ;  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
WilKam  MacDonald,  of  Johore  Bahru,  who  subsequently 
Hved  and  laboured  for  years  in  Penang  ;  Mr.  Alexander 
Grant,  M.A.  (of  Amoy)  ;  Mr.  John  Haffenden,  who 
in  1882  became  agent  for  the  British  and  Foreign  Bible 
Society  ;  Captain  E.  Buckley  Tarn  ;  Lieutenant  Key,  of 
H.M.S.  Coquette,  who  often  preached  the  Gospel  in  those 
early  days  with  Mr.  Charles  Phillips,  who  was  then  in 
the  Army ;  Staff-Commander  Bowen,  R.N.,  and  Major  C. 
Hailes,  who  both  rendered  valuable  aid.  In  1867  Major 
Malan  was  a  great  help  in  the  ministry  of  the  Scriptures. 
And  in  1 882  we  find  Major  Carew  helping  in  the  preaching. 

For  a  few  years  nothing  but  a  broken  gate  and  a  few 
courses  of  bricks  marked  the  spot  of  Bethesda 
Meeting  Hall.  In  the  fall  of  1 889  a  party  of  missionaries 
specially  commended  for  the  work  in  Singapore  set  sail 
from  England  ;  this  new  party  consisted  of  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Honywill,  Mr.  Alfred  R.  Thorburn,  and  Miss  Hosegood. 
It  was  decided  by  the  church,  soon  after  the  arrival  of 
these  new  missionaries,  that  Mr.  Honywill  should  give 
himself  to  the  English-speaking  work,  whilst  Mr.  Thorburn 
should  take  up  Chinese.  Within  a  short  while  Mr. 
Thorburn  sailed  for  Amoy  to  study  Chinese,  whilst  Mr. 
Honywill  strenuously  set  himself  to  work  amongst  the 
English-speaking  people.  The  plans  for  a  new  Bethesda 
were  prepared  ;  this  time  the  building  was  to  be  sub- 
stantially built  of  brick  with  iron  beams.  Mr.  Honywill 
was  fortunate  in  having  the  valued  help  of  Mr.  Andrew 
Light  Koenitz  (chief  book-keeper  to  McAhster  and  Co.), 
who  had  been  a  most  faithful  and  diligent  helper  to  the 
church  for  many  years  ;  and  Mr.  J.  Clement  Cuff,  of  the 
Telegraph  Company,  also  proved  a  valuable  helper. 

On  the  17th  January  1892  Bethesda  new  building 
was  opened  by  a  week  of  special  prayer,  and  from  that 
date  to  the  present  time  the  services  and  missionary  work 
have  gone  on  most  successfully.  A  year  or  so  later  the 
Bethesda    Mission    House    was    erected    at    the    back 


of  Bethesda.  This  house  is  an  addition  to  the  Mission 
House  in  Neil  Road,  which  was  built  and  opened  in 

The  Jewish  Synagogue 

The  first  Jewish  synagogue  was  a  small  building  in 
Synagogue  Street,  erected  in  the  'Forties,  and  having 
only  thirty  or  forty  seats.  It  soon  became  too  small. 
Some  time  in  the  'Sixties  the  Trustees  of  Raffles  School 
approached  Mr.  J.  R.  Joshua,  the  uncle  of  Mr.  Manasseh 
Meyer,  and  asked  him  to  contribute  towards  the  exten- 
sion of  Raffles  School.  They  required  $4,000,  and  Mr. 
Joshua  offered  to  pay  the  whole  amount  if  they  could 
give  him  a  piece  of  land  sufficiently  large  for  the  building 
of  a  synagogue.  This  was  agreed  upon,  the  money  was 
paid,  and  the  title  was  given  with  the  proviso  that  the 
proposed  synagogue  had  to  be  built  within  three  years. 
Unfortunately  circumstances  changed,  and  Mr.  Joshua 
left  the  Colony  :  and  there  being  no  energetic  man  to 
ask  for  subscriptions  or  collect  money  from  the  Jewish 
community,  the  stipulated  period  elapsed  without  the 
building  being  erected.  So  the  land  reverted  to  the 

When  Mr.  Manasseh  Meyer,  after  a  stay  of  eight 
years  in  India,  returned  to  Singapore  in  1873  to  estab- 
lish his  business  here,  he  found  the  synagogue  unfit  for 
divine  service,  not  only  because  of  its  dilapidated 
condition,  but  also  because  the  vicinity  was  over- 
crowded and  filthy.  He  therefore  approached  Mr. 
Braddell,  grandfather  of  the  present  Mr.  Roland 
Braddell,  and  who  was  Attorney-General  at  the  time, 
with  a  request  that  the  Government  allow  the  Jews  to 
sell  the  synagogue  in  Synagogue  Street,  and  erect 
another  on  a  more  suitable  site.  The  request  was 
granted.  A  site  was  obtained  in  Waterloo  Street,  and 
a  new  synagogue  erected.  It  was  opened  for  service 
on  the  4th  April  1878.  Later  on  galleries  for  ladies 
and  other  improvements  were  added  by  Mr.  Meyer. 
By  the  year  1902  this  synagogue  had  become  too  small 


for  the  increasing  community,  and  Mr.  Meyer,  having 
hired  a  house  in  Short  Street  for  temporary  use,  pro- 
ceeded to  build  a  new  synagogue  in  Oxley  Rise  at  his 
own  cost.  It  was  completed  in  1905.  Both  synagogues 
are  now  in  use,  and  are  practically  full  on  holy  days. 

The  Chinese  Gospel  House  (Hok  Im  Koan) 

In  the  year  1866  a  number  of  earnest  Chinese  Chris- 
tians were  greatly  exercised  in  heart,  like  their  English- 
speaking  brethren  in  the  Mission  Rooms,  Bencoolen 
Street.  And  so  a  piece  of  land  adjoining  Bethesda 
was  purchased,  and  very  soon  they  began  to  build  a 
meeting-house.  The  Christians  in  Bethesda  resolved 
that  the  collections  on  the  20th  January  1867 
be  devoted  to  assist  in  this  building.  This  was  done, 
many  other  special  oiTerings  were  made  by  the  church 
in  Bethesda  in  assisting  their  Chinese  brethren,  and 
it  was  suggested  that  Bethesda  Hall  should  be  used 
by  the  Christian  believers  till  their  own  meeting-place 
was  ready  for  occupation.  This  offer  they  gladly 
accepted,  and  it  is  worth  noting  that  for  many  years 
the  English-speaking  assembly  in  Bethesda  and  the 
Chinese  assembly  in  the  Gospel  House  met  together 
on  alternate  weeks,  and  then,  after  a  time,  monthly, 
for  the  breaking  of  bread  on  the  first  day  of  the  week. 

On  Wednesday,  the  8th  May  1867,  Mr.  Tan  See  Boo. 
an  earnest  Christian,  who  had  been  engaged  for  a 
number  of  years  as  a  catechist,  but  about  eight  months 
before  had  resigned  his  connection  with  the  Mission,  and 
has  since  been  successfully  engaged  in  building  up  a 
church  of  Chinese  Christians  and  preaching  the  Gospel, 
was,  with  five  others  of  his  own  countrymen,  baptised 
by  Mr.  Chapman,  the  missionary  colleague  of  Mr. 
William  MacDonald,  of  Penang.  This  meeting  was 
conducted  in  the  English,  Chinese,  and  Malay  languages. 
So  far  as  is  known,  these  were  the  first  converts  ever 
baptised  by  immersion  in  these  Settlements. 

On  the  nth  August  1867  Mr.  Alexander  Grant, 
M.A.,  with  Mrs.  Grant,  came  to  reside  in  Singapore, 


and  his  coming  proved  to  be  a  great  stimulus  to  the 
Chinese  assembly.  It  was  in  this  year  that  the  Chinese 
Gospel  House  (which  is  a  hall  or  chapel)  was  erected 
and  occupied  by  the  Chinese  Christians.  Messrs.  Tan 
See  Boo,  Soo  Hoo  Ah  Tak,  Gan  Kui,  Chong  Ghee 
Loong,  Png  Puah,  and  others  were  men  of  spiritual 

About  thirty-three  years  of  successful  mission  work 
were  accomplished  in  this  Chinese  hall.  Somewhere 
about  the  year  1895  the  old  Gospel  House  was  found 
to  be  in  a  very  dilapidated  and  dangerous  condition. 
The  Chinese  met  together  on  the  3rd  October  1899  to 
consider  the  urgent  need  of  repairs,  and  the  suggested 
alterations.  At  this  meeting  it  was  unanimously  agreed 
to  leave  the  repairs  and  alterations  entirely  in  the  hands 
of  Mr.  Alfred  R.  Thorburn.  It  was  found  exceedingly 
difficult  to  alter  a  building  quaintly  built  in  Chinese 
style  into  a  useful  hall.  Mr.  Claud  La  Brooy  (who  was 
then  a  young  man  just  starting  in  life  as  an  architect 
and  surveyor,  now  a  contractor  of  Ipoh)  proved  himself 
equal  to  the  task,  and  produced  suitable  plans.  The 
Chinese  Gospel  House  (which  had  been  practically 
rebuilt)  was  opened  on  Tuesday,  the  20th  February 
1900,  with  a  conversational  fellowship  tea,  and  about  1 50 
friends  were  present. 

From  the  opening  of  this  new  building,  on  the  20th  Feb- 
ruary 1900,  to  this  present  date  services  have  been  held 
regularly,  and  the  Hok  Im  Koan  is  still  a  distinctive 
landmark  along  the  main  thoroughfare  of  Singapore. 

The  Chinese  Gospel  Hall,  Upper  Serangoon  Road 

This  hall  was  opened  on  the  2nd  October  1909.  It  is 
situated  about  half  a  mile  from  the  main  road.  Ser- 
vices are  held  regularly,  with  a  good  average  attendance. 


The  following  publications  have  been  of  special  use 
in  compiling  this  chapter,  in  addition  to  newspaper 
files  and  church  reports  : 


Malcolm's  (Rev.  H.)  Travels  in  South-Eastern  Asia, 
Buckley's  Anecdotal  History. 
Cook's  (Rev.  J.  A.  B.)  Sunny  Singapore, 
Thoburn's  (Bishop)  India  and  Malaysia. 
Oldham's  (Bishop)  Malaysia,  Nature's  Wonderland. 

The  following  sections  of  the  chapter  have  been 
specially  contributed  :  The  Church  of  England,  by  the 
Bishop  of  Singapore  ;  The  Roman  Catholic  Church,  by 
arrangement  with  the  Rev.  N.  J.  Couvreur ;  The 
Bethesda  Chapel  and  Mission,  by  Pastor  A.  R.  Thorburn. 
The  section  on  the  Methodist  Church  and  Mission  has 
been  revised  by  the  Rev.  W.  T.  Cherry,  Presiding  Elder 
for  the  Singapore  District.  Information  about  the 
Armenian  Church  has  been  supplied  by  Mr.  Mack  S. 
Arathoon,  and  that  about  the  Jewish  Synagogue  by 
Mr.  Manasseh  Meyer. 

Of  recent  years  the  Seventh-Day  Adventists  have 
built  a  chapel  in  Penang  Lane,  where  services  are  held 
in  Malay,  Chinese,  and  English.  They  also  have  opened 
an  English  school.  But  this  work  is  of  too  recent 
formation  to  merit  detail  in  a  history  of  the  century. 



By  Walter  Makepeace 

The  Press 

The  Singapore  Chronicle  was  the  first  newspaper  pub- 
lished in  Singapore,  estabhshed  in  1824  by  Mr.  Frederick 
James  Bernard,  five  years  after  the  founding  of  the 
Settlement.  In  order  to  get  permission  to  publish  the 
Chronicle,  the  first  number  had  to  be  sent  to  Bengal. 
The  principal  contributor  to  the  paper  for  the  first 
two  years  was  Mr.  Crawfurd,  the  Resident,  and  in 
January  1831  the  Chronicle  was  enlarged  to  a  four-page 
paper,  20  by  12 J  inches,  published  fortnightly.  Mr. 
Buckley  could  find  no  copy  of  the  paper  in  Singapore 
in  1885,  and  was  of  opinion  that  none  was  in  existence, 
as  the  editor  in  1833  had  been  unable  to  make  up  his 
file  for  the  first  three  years.  After  Mr.  Buckley's  History 
was  pubhshed,  it  was  discovered  that  Mr.  Logan's 
library  (now  belonging  to  Government)  had  early  copies 
of  the  Singapore  Chronicle  or  Commercial  Register, 
vol.  i,  Nos.  I  to  4,  I  St  January  1824  to  ist  April  1824, 
being  in  MSS,  also  Nos.  8,  9,  11,  and  12.  They  are  in 
a  volume  in  the  Penang  Library,  inscribed  "  A.  Logan 
1843,  bought  at  Mr.  Moor's  sale." 

The  older  Settlements  had,  of  course,  had  their 
newspapers.  The  Prince  of  Wales's  Island  Gazette  began 
in  1805,  and  lasted  twenty-two  years,  its  successors 
being  many  and  their  lives  short.  The  Malacca  Observer 
commenced  in  September  1826,  and  lasted  for  three 
years,  being  also  a  fortnightl3^  The  Malacca  Weekly 
Register  was  in  existence  in  1839  and  1840,  and  again 



the  old  Settlement  boasted  the  Malacca  Weekly  News  in 
August  1872.  At  this  time  Malacca  had  its  garrison, 
including  white  troops,  its  own  Lieutenant-Governor, 
E.  M.  Shaw,  R.N.,  and  Mr.  W.  E.  Maxwell  was  the 
presiding  magistrate.  The  paper  did  not  last  very 
long,  and  had  been  extinct  for  some  years  in  1884,  when 
Mr.  Buckley  resumed  publication  of  the  Singapore  Free 
Press,  with  a  special  Malacca  correspondent.  About 
1889  the  late  Mr.  H.  B.  Collinge,  who  became  Inspector 
of  Schools  in  Perak,  made  an  attempt  to  resuscitate  the 
Malacca  newspaper,  and  had  a  moderate  amount  of 
success  for  a  year.  It  is  outside  the  scope  of  this  article 
to  deal  with  the  Press  of  Penang  or  the  F.M.S.,  but 
the  following  list  of  newspapers  will  show  the  progres- 
sive development  of  journalism  in  Malaya,  where  all  the 
papers  are  dependent  upon  Renter's  Telegram  Service 
for  their  daily  cables  : 

Prince  of  Wales's   Island  Gazette,   1805-27,  and 

again  in  1833. 
Singapore  Chronicle,  1824-37. 
Pinang  Register  and  Miscellany,   1827-8. 
Malacca  Observer,  1826-9,  1889-90. 
Malacca  Weekly  Register,  1839-40. 
Malacca  Weekly  News,  1872. 
Government  Gazette  of  Prince  of  Wales's  Island, 

Singapore  and  Malacca,  1828-30. 
Singapore  Free  Press,  October  1835. 
Straits  Times  and  Singapore  Journal  of  Commerce, 

Pinang  Gazette,  1838  (weekly) ;  1890  (tri-weekly) ; 

1 89 1   (daily). 
Straits  Chronicle,  1838  (weekly). 
Straits  Echo,  1903. 
Perak  Pioneer  (Taiping),  1894. 
Malay  Mail  (Kuala  Lumpur),  1896. 
Times  of  Malaya  (Ipoh),  1904. 
Malaya  Tribune,  191 5. 

In  the  early  days  of  the  Colony  there  was  a  Press 
II— 19 


censorship,  but  it  is  not  easy  to  determine  what  its 
exact  scope  was.  Each  issue  had  to  be  submitted  to 
Government  before  pubhcation  under  what  was  called 
the  "  Gagging  Act/'  which  was  abolished  in  1835,  when 
the  new  paper  was  called  the  Free  Press  to  mark  the 
new  era.  But,  quite  apart  from  the  war  censorship  of 
1 9 14-18,  there  seems  to  have  been  some  doubt  as  to 
the  discretion  of  the  Press  on  the  part  of  the  Govern- 
ment, for  the  earlier  reports  of  the  meetings  of  the 
Legislative  Council,  1867-72,  were  only  permitted  to 
be  published  as  provided  by  the  Clerk  of  Councils.  The 
minutes  took  about  a  fortnight  to  get  into  type,  and 
the  extended  report  a  month.  Council  met  on  the 
24th  February  1869,  "  and  a  smart  discussion  is  reported 
to  have  taken  place  regarding  the  financial  statements 
of  the  Auditor-General.  The  absurd  and,  we  {Singapore 
Times)  believe,  illegal  standing  rule  of  the  Council  which 
excluded  representatives  of  the  Press  prevents  our 
giving  any  particulars."  None  but  official  reports 
were  allowed  to  be  published.  As  long  as  Mr.  Crawfurd, 
the  first  Resident,  edited  the  Chronicle,  the  Gagging 
Acts  caused  no  inconvenience,  but  later  blank  spaces 
showed  where  the  censor  had  been  at  work.  The 
Singapore  Chronicle  of  1828  mentions  that  the  censor 
had  struck  out  some  items  from  the  Pinang  Register  of 
the  1 7th  September,  which  the  Editor  then  had  printed 
on  a  separate  slip  and  circulated  with  the  paper,  which 
the  Singapore  Editor  thought  "  a  very  bold  step  " — 
which  indeed  it  was,  if  the  slip  had  no  imprint.  In 
March  1833  Mr.  Bonham,  the  Resident  Councillor, 
wrote  to  the  Editor  of  the  Chronicle  that,  on  his  recom- 
mendation, the  Supreme  Government  had  sanctioned 
the  discontinuance  of  the  Press  censorship,  and  that  the 
proof-sheet  need  not  be  sent  to  him  any  more.  The 
Editor's  article  on  the  subject  quoted  an  old  remark  of 
Blackstone  that  to  subject  the  Press  to  the  restrictive 
powers  of  a  licenser  was  to  make  all  freedom  of  sentiment 
liable  to  the  prejudice  of  one  man,  and  make  him  the 
arbitrary  judge   of  controverted   points.     During   the 


Indian  Mutiny  the  newspapers  of  the  Straits  were 
subject  to  the  rigid  restriction  imposed  by  the  Govern- 
ment of  India  to  prevent  seditious  pubhcations.  A 
pubhc  meeting  was  held  in  Singapore  in  1857  ^o  protest 
against  this.  The  Act  ceased  in  June  1858.  Probably 
it  was  not  more  oppressive  in  actual  operation  than 
was  the  war  censor  of  the  past  five  years,  but  freedom 
of  speech  and  freedom  of  the  Press  are  taken  so  generally 
as  a  matter  of  right  by  British  citizens  that  the  slightest 
attempt  to  curb  them  is  resented,  especially  when  the 
censorate's  idea  of  the  news  food  of  the  grown-up  man 
is  a  ragout  in  which  the  foundation  is  so  carefully  dis- 
guised that  it  is  not  recognisable  as  fish,  flesh,  fowl,  nor 
good  red  herring.  The  most  unfortunate  instance  of 
the  exercise  of  the  censorate  was  the  action  taken  in 
February  1 9 1 5 ,  when  the  mutiny  took  place  in  Singapore, 
and  no  news  was  permitted  to  leave  the  Colony  for  a 
week,  on  the  principle,  perhaps,  that  suppressing  the 
news  meant  suppressing  the  mutiny. 

Returning  to  the  Singapore  newspapers,  the  Free  Press 
was  started  in  1835,  and  soon  proved  too  much  for  the 
respectable  old  Chronicle,  which  ceased  in  1837,  ^^^  the 
plant  and  type  were  shipped  to  Penang,  where  they 
helped  to  print  the  Pinang  Gazette  and  Straits  Chronicle. 

The  Straits  Times  and  Singapore  Journal  of  Commerce 
appeared  on  the  15th  July  1845,  the  printing  material 
having  been  ordered  from  England  by  Mr.  M.  T.  Apcar, 
of  Apcar  and  Stephens ;  but  he  had  died  in  the  mean- 
while, and  Mr.  Gilbert  McMicking  (of  Syme  and  Co.)  was 
the  assignee  of  his  estate.  Mr.  Catchick  Moses  took  over 
the  material,  and  Mr.  R.  C.  Woods,  who  had  come  from 
Bombay,  was  the  first  Editor,  Mr.  Moses  dropping  out 
after  a  year  or  two.  In  the  first  year  it  appeared  as  a 
weekly,  then  twice  a  week,  folio  four  pages,  went  back 
to  weekly,  in  1 847  again  became  a  bi-weekly,  and  became 
a  daily  in  1858,  thus  having  a  continuous  publication  of 
sixty-one  years.  It  has  had,  at  one  time  and  another, 
many  publications  connected  with  it.  The  first  Directory 
was  issued  by  Mr.  R.  C.  Woods,  the  Singapore  Monthly 


Circular  and  Price  Current  was  issued  from  the  office, 
many  special  and  Christmas  numbers,  and  its  own  weekly 
Straits  Budget.  Mr.  Buckley,  under  date  1854,  after 
giving  an  account  of  the  "  Persecution  of  Sir  James 
Brooke,"  as  Admiral  Keppel  calls  it,  condemns  the  first 
Editor,  Mr.  R.  C.  Woods,  for  being  the  instigator  of  the 
calumny  "  founded  on  falsehood  and  strutted  up  with 
newspaper  lies  "  as  "  the  one  big  blot  on  the  history  of 
Singapore,"  for  which  the  community  were  in  part  to 
blame.  However,  Mr.  Woods  was  a  very  prominent 
man,  a  Municipal  Commissioner,  and  a  leading  lawyer. 
Mr.  John  Cameron  became  Editor  of  the  Straits  Times  in 
1 861 ,  at  the  same  time  being  part  proprietor  with  Captain 
E.  M.  Smith,  one  of  the  early  managers  of  Tanjong 
Pagar  Dock  Co.  Mr.  Cameron  continued  to  edit  the 
paper  till  1867,  and  lived  in  Singapore  till  1881,  dying 
at  Monk's  Hill.  In  1883  the  Proprietrix  is  given  as  Mrs. 
John  Cameron;  Editors,  "  Committee  of  Subscribers  "  ; 
Sub-Editor,  C.  H.  Westlake.  Mr.  John  Marshall  became 
Editor  a  year  or  so  later,  and  Mr.  T.  C.  Cargill,  a  former 
Municipal  Engineer,  acted  for  a  short  time.  There  were 
many  changes  till  1889,  when  the  late  Mr.  Arnot  Reid 
became  Editor;  he  was  a  well-known  personality  till 
the  I  St  May  1900,  when  the  concern  was  turned  into  a 
limited  company  and  Mr.  Reid  retired,  dying  soon  after 
in  England.  Succeeding  editors  have  been  Mr.  P.  M. 
Skinner,  Mr.  E.  A.  Morphy,  Mr.  T.  H.  Reid  (now  in  the 
Malay  States  Information  Agency  in  London),  and  Mr. 
A.  W.  Still,  since  1908.  Mr.  A.  P.  Ager,  the  present 
Manager,  was  with  the  Straits  Times  as  long  ago  as 
1898,  first  as  reporter,  then  as  Assistant  Editor  and 
Manager.  The  present  Chief  Clerk,  Mr.  Lim  Tek  Wee, 
has  seen  thirty  years'  continuous  service  with  the  paper. 
A  serious  misfortune  for  the  paper  was  the  great  fire 
on  the  1 7th  February  1 869,  which  totally  destroyed  the 
records  and  plant,  so  that  the  **  remains  "  fetched  only 
$40  at  auction.  The  office  was  in  the  Square,  next  to 
the  Oriental  Bank  Building — the  Free  Press  is  actually 
on  the  same  site  now — ^when  the  Chinese  store  of  Locke, 


Hung  Kee  and  Co.  and  the  newspaper  office  were  entirely 
destroyed.  The  Straits  Times  offices  were  at  the  corner 
of  Robinson  Road  and  Cecil  Street,  until  they  acquired 
the  site  and  built  their  own  property  at  78  Cecil  Street. 

The  Singapore  Free  Press  was  originally  founded  in 
1835  by  Mr.  Wilham  Napier,  the  lawyer  ;  Mr.  Lorrain, 
a  merchant  who  afterwards  became  a  partner  in  Brown 
and  Co.,  Penang,  and  the  head  of  Lorrain,  Sandilands  and 
Co. ;  Mr.  Edward  Boustead  ;  and  Mr.  Coleman,  the  first 
Superintendent  of  Public  Works,  who  died  in  Singapore 
in  1 841 ,  and  was  buried  in  Fort  Canning  Cemetery.  Mr. 
Boustead,  in  addition  to  his  mercantile  work,  had  been 
helping  to  edit  the  Singapore  Chronicle  for  some  time, 
and  when  Mr.  Carnegy  came  down  from  Penang  and 
purchased  the  Chronicle,  it  was  determined  to  start  the 
Free  Press,  a  weekly  of  four  pages,  with  a  commercial 
and  shipping  page.  Mr.  William  Napier  edited  the  paper 
till  1 846,  when  he  left  for  home,  and  Mr.  Abraham  Logan 
took  charge,  and  was  Editor  and  Proprietor  for  over 
twenty  years,  finally  settling  down  in  Penang,  where 
he  died.  Mr.  Logan  was  a  law  agent  and  notary  public, 
and  one  of  the  leading  lawyers  of  the  place,  having  Mr. 
Thomas  Braddell  for  his  partner  in  1862.  He  was  the 
brother  of  the  founder  and  Editor  of  the  Journal  of  the 
Indian  Archipelago,  James  Richardson  Logan.  The 
Singapore  Free  Press  continued  as  a  weekly  till  1869, 
when  it  ceased  publication.  In  1884,  moved  by  the 
same  spirit  as  the  original  founders  of  the  Free  Press, 
namely  that  a  second  newspaper  was  for  the  good  of  the 
place,  and  that  it  should  not  owe  its  inception  to  the 
need  for  profit,  Mr.  C.  B.  Buckley  got  together  thirty- 
two  subscribers  to  buy  the  plant  and  material  of  the  old 
Free  Press,  and  recommenced  publication  as  a  weekly, 
himself  doing  the  editing  and  contributing  papers  on  the 
history  of  Singapore,  which  eventually  became  the  Anec- 
dotal History  of  Singapore,  Mr.  Jonas  Daniel  Vaughan, 
the  last  Editor  of  the  first  series  of  the  Singapore 
Free  Press,  became  a  contributor  to  the  new  series,  and 
continued  regularly  till  his  death.     Among  other  promi- 


nent  contributors  who  helped  to  maintain  the  personal 
continuity  was  the  venerable  W.  H.  Read,  C.M.G.,  who 
contributed  leading  articles  and  letters  over  his  well- 
known  signature  of  ^^  Delta. ''  This  series  of  the  Free  Press 
was  a  most  useful  reference  work  for  the  history  of  the 
Settlement,  as  in  it  appeared  all  Mr.  Buckley's  knowledge 
of  the  place  for  twenty  years.  The  weekly  was  so 
successful  that  at  the  beginning  of  1887  those  most 
interested  in  it,  Mr.  C.  B.  Buckley,  Mr.  John  Fraser,  Mr. 
John  Cuthbertson,  Mr.  David  Neave,  and  Mr.  T.  Shelford, 
put  up  the  money  to  convert  it  into  a  daily.  Mr.  W.  G. 
St.  Clair  was  chosen  at  home  to  come  out  as  Editor,  and 
arrived  about  March  1887.  Mr.  Walter  Makepeace  was 
engaged  as  a  reporter  and  assistant,  and  came  down  from 
Malacca,  where  he  was  then,  and  the  first  issue  of  the 
Singapore  Free  Press  as  a  daily  was  on  the  1 6th  July  1887. 
In  1895  Mr.  St.  Clair  and  Mr.  Makepeace  became  the 
proprietors  of  the  paper,  and  in  19 16,  when  Mr.  St.  Clair 
retired,  the  paper  was  converted  into  a  private  limited 
liability  company  (of  two).  Mr.  William  Craig  came 
out  to  join  the  staff  of  the  Free  Press  in  1893,  leaving  in 
1899  to  join  the  Government  service  in  the  Post  Office. 
Mr.  R.  D.  Davies  came  out  from  Bristol  to  join  the  paper 
in  I 90 I. 

The  third  daily  paper  in  Singapore  is  the  Malaya 
Tribune,  which  was  started  in  1915. 

There  have  been  other  newspapers  in  Singapore  :  the 
Eastern  Daily  Mail  (1905-6)  ;  the  Straits  Advocate  in 
the  'Eighties;  the  Straits  Guardian,  1856,  published  on 
Saturdays  "  at  the  Reporters'  Press,"  also  th^  Reporters' 
Advertiser,  tri-weekly,  gratis  ;  the  Shipping  Gazette, 
1858,  at  the  Commercial  Press  ;  the  Straits  Intelligence, 
1883-6  ;  and  the  Singapore  Herald,  about  the  same 

Many  vernacular  papers  have  at  one  time  or  another 
been  printed  in  Singapore.  In  1 888  there  was  the  Tamil 
paper,  the  Singai  Nesan,  and  the  Malay  Jawi  Peranakan. 
The  Chinese  papers,  the  Lat  Pan  and  the  Seng  Poh,  had 
a  wide  circulation,  and  the  Utusan  Malayu,  a  Malay 


daily  in  Arabic  and  romanised  Malay,  is   one  of  the 
longest  lived,  having  been  established  in  191 1. 

The  Singapore  Review  and  Monthly  Magazine  com- 
menced in  January  1861,  and  was  conducted  by  E.  A. 
Edgerton.  Vols.  I  and  II  were  available  for  reference 
from  the  late  Mr.  Arthur  Knight's  books.  It  is  a  curiously 
varied  work,  ranging  from  a  review  of  the  trade  of  the 
Colony  and  the  municipal  year  1 860  to  a  reprint  of  the 
then  popular  songs  such  as  "  Partant  pour  la  Syrie." 
Much  hght  is  thrown  upon  the  life  of  these  early  times. 
Buckley  does  not  mention  it,  and  Dr.  Dennys  gives  it 
the  briefest  note.  It  was  pubhshed  under  the  super- 
vision of  a  committee  of  gentlemen.  The  first  volume 
contains  a  long  paper  on  "  The  Trade  and  Commerce  of 
the  Eastern  Archipelago  "  by  Peter  Lund  Simmons.  He 
mentions  three  possible  sources  of  coal  for  Singapore, 
namely  Labuan,  Sarawak,  and  Indragiri,  the  last  about 
to  be  worked  by  Almeida  and  Sons — quite  prosaic  ;  but 
in  another  part  there  is  an  article  on  Malay  "  Se- 
remba  "  and  "  Serapa,"  varieties  of  Malay  pantuns,  from 
which  we  select  one  plain  and  one"  highly  coloured." 


Derimana  datang-nia  liniah 
Deri  sawah  ka-batang  padi 
Derimana  datang-nia  chinta 
Deri  mata  turun  di  hati. 

Whence  comes  the  horse-leech  ? 
From  the  wet  field  to  the  rice  stalk; 
Whence  comes  love  ? 
From  the  eyes  descending  to  the  heart. 


Sulasih  alang  gomilang 

Kayu  hidop  di-makan  apt 

Kalau  kasih,  alang  kapalang 

Deri  hidup  batk  ka-mati. 

How  radiant  is  the  sweet  basil. 

Living  wood  is  consumed  by  fire ; 

If  this  be  love,  how  intolerable  its  pains, 

Than  life  death  is  to  me  more  desirable. 

Mention  has  already  been  made  of  the  Government 
Gazette  of  Prince  of  IVales's  Island,  Singapore  and  Malacca, 


published  weekly  from  the  25th  October  1828  to  July 
1830.  The  Straits  Settletnents  Government  Gazette  was 
started  in  January  1858,  but  in  the  previous  year  a 
start  had  been  made  with  the  annual  report  on  the 
administration  of  Singapore.  The  Government  Print- 
ing Press  was  under  the  orders  of  the  Secretary  to 
Government,  was  in  the  Public  Works  Department,  and 
the  foreman  in  1867  was  L.  F.  de  Souza.  Some  of  the 
presses  still  in  use  in  the  prison,  where  much  rough 
printing  is  done,  must  date  long  prior  to  that.  They 
may  be  original  "  Caxtons  "  !  On  the  ist  April  1871 
Mr.  John  Paton  arrived  to  be  Superintendent  of  the 
Government  Printing  Office.  Mr.  T.  J.  Keaughran  was 
Government  Printer  for  a  few  years,  and  remained  in 
Singapore  till  he  died, issuing  for  several  years  a  directory. 
Mr.  H.  L.  Noronha  was  for  many  years  in  charge  of  the 
Government  Printing  Office.  There  have  been  several 
short-term  holders  of  the  office,  and  Mr.  J.  E.  Tyler,  the 
present  Government  Printer,  has  been  so  ever  since  1905. 
The  work  of  the  department  has  increased  enormously 
of  late  years,  what  with  reports,  blue-books.  Council 
proceedings,  evidence  and  reports  of  commissions,  not 
to  mention  the  steadily  increasing  demand  for  forms  of 
many  kinds. 


If  writers  and  presses  innumerable  make  literature, 
then  Singapore  has  been  a  flourishing  literary  centre  ;  but 
it  is  useless  to  attempt  to  disguise  the  fact  that  the  many 
pamphlets, small  books,  and  magazine  articles  which  have 
been  written  and  published  are  mostly  personal  ex- 
periences and  the  record  of  facts  and  local  controversy, 
hardly  making  history,  and  but  faintly  representing 
that.  As  Mr.  A.  M.  Skinner  points  out  in  his  Memoir  of 
Captain  Light,  that  officer  belongs  to  the  active  period 
of  the  Straits  to  which,  as  in  other  places,  the  "  literary 
period  "  succeeded.  The  latter  began  with  Marsden 
and  Leyden  of  the  many-languaged  lore  ( 1 805).  During 
the  next  fifty  years  there  was  no  lack  of  scholars  and 


writers  in  these  countries.  But  before  their  time  almost 
the  only  English  literature  of  the  Far  East  consisted  of 
accounts  by  ship  captains  like  Dampier  and  Forrest,  of 
their  own  and  others'  voyages  .  .  .  but  we  miss  the 
literary  side. 

The  Press,  naturally,  has  had  to  confine  its  work  to 
the  plain  recording  of  the  doings  of  the  day,  although 
from  time  to  time  contributions  approximating  to  litera- 
ture have  been  published,  though  not  always  with  a  local 
habitat.  The  Free  Press  in  1890  published  a  number  of 
Rudyard  Kipling's  then  new  stories,  "  Without  Benefit 
of  Clergy,"  "  The  Mark  of  the  Beast,"  "  The  Return  of 
Imray,"  and  "  On  Greenhow  Hill."  The  columns  of  the 
same  journal  had  many  scholarly  articles  and  essays  from 
the  pen  of  the  Rev.  G.  M.  Reith,  and  in  its  turnovers  aims 
at  keeping  alive  the  torch  of  literature.  But  for  the 
most  part  the  impressions  of  writers  and  accounts  of 
travels  are  interesting  rather  because  they  record  the 
ordinary  occurrences  of  life  as  seen  from  many  points  of 
view  than  from  any  literary  value.  Still,  many  have 
stood  the  test  of  time,  and  their  merits  as  reprints  in 
book  form  are  still  acknowledged.  Mr.  J.  T.  Thomson 
was  a  traveller  who  put  on  paper  his  experiences,  for  the 
benefit  of  those  who  came  after  him,  in  the  Journal 
of  the  Indian  Archipelago.  Mr.  J.  R.  Logan's  obituary 
notice  (the  20th  October  1869)  pays  this  tribute  to  his 
powers  of  clear  and  forcible  expression  : 

"  Mr.  Logan  was  undoubtedly  the  foremost  literary 
man  in  the  Far  East.  His  ethnological  and  other 
contributions  to  the  Journal  of  the  Indian  Archipelago 
have  been  quoted  and  referred  to  by  nearly  every 
writer  on  the  East.  He  was  a  fellow  of  and  contributor 
to  many  of  the  learned  societies  of  Europe,  and  his  loss 
will  be  sensibly  felt  in  the  world  of  letters."  '*  Unselfish 
to  a  degree  he  spared  neither  time  nor  money  to  promote 
Penang's  welfare." 

Dr.  Lim  Boon  Keng's  articles  on  the  "  Chinese  Crisis 
from  Within  "  (Wen  Chang  was  the  name  he  wrote 
under,   at   a  time  when  secrecy  was   essential  in  the 


interests  of  the  writer)  were  reviewed  in  book  form 
among  the  notable  books  of  the  month,  in  the  Review 
of  Reviews  (1902),  in  the  terms:  "  He  writes  Enghsh 
with  marvellous  facility  and  accuracy,  and  possesses 
the  gift  of  making  his  narrative  interesting  as  well  as 
informing."  This  is  but  one  of  the  many  books  written 
in  Singapore,  but  not  entirely  about  Singapore,  and 
therefore  outside  the  pale  of  this  history.  There  are 
many  such  books,  as,  for  instance,  John  Dill  Ross's  Sixty 
Years'  Travel  and  Adventure  in  the  Far  East]  Captain 
Sherard  Osborn's  Quedah,  or  Stray  Leaves  from  a  Journal 
in  Malayan  Waters  (London,  1857);  Frank  Swettenham 
and  Hugh  Chfford's  books  on  Malaya  ;  W.  G.  Maxwell's 
In  Malayan  Forests  ;  Sir  J.  F.  Dickson's  article  on 
the  Straits  Settlements  and  British  Malaya  {English 
Illustrated  Magazine,  January  1890)  ;  John  Fairlie's 
'*  Life  in  the  Malay  Peninsula  "  {Century  Magazine, 
February  1893).  No  complete  bibhography  of  works 
relating  to  Singapore  exists,  but  long  lists  are  published 
in  various  articles  in  the  Journal  of  the  Straits  Branch 
of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society, 

Turning  to  pen-work  not  purely  literary,  there  is 
a  large  collection,  some  in  book  form,  many  in  local 
magazines  and  pubhcations.  Sir  W.  E.  Maxwell's 
Manual  of  the  Malay  Language  (1888)  ran  easily  to 
a  second  edition.  He  wrote  voluminously  on  Malay 
literature  and  customs — Malay  characteristics,  fair}^ 
tales,  the  Law  relating  to  Slavery  among  the  Malays  (1883), 
"  Raja  Haji,  a  Malay  poem  of  the  eighteenth  century," 
etc.  Mr.  D.  F.  A.  Hervey,  a  Resident  Councillor  of 
Malacca,  wrote  much  on  the  aborigines  of  Malacca 
and  folk-lore.  Hugh  Clifford's  Collection  of  Malay 
Proverbs  is  still  probably  the  most  valuable.  Mr. 
A.  M.  Skinner  (Colonial  Secretary  1890)  is  best  known 
for  his  Geography  of  the  Malay  Peninsula. 

The  valuable  work  known  as  Logan's  Journal  of  the 
Indian  Archipelago  (12  vols.,  printed  at  the  Mission 
Press,  Singapore,  1847-62)  was  edited  by  Mr.  J.  R. 
Logan,  and  contains  contributions  from  his  pen  and  from 


many  other  well-known  Singapore  men  of  the  middle 
of  the  nineteenth  century.  Mr.  Logan  is  generally 
held  to  be  the  highest  authority  on  all  subjects  on  which 
he  personally  wrote,  and  he  enlisted  such  writers  as 
Dr.  Little,  Mr.  Windsor  Earle,  Mr.  T.  Braddell,  Mr.  J.  T. 
Thomson,  and  Colonel  Low.  Mr.  Buckley  describes 
it  as  the  first  attempt  to  promote  a  literary  or  scientific 
periodical  in  the  British  Settlements,  and  states  that  it 
did  not  pay  its  author.  The  valuable  work  has  not  been 
indexed,  but  Dr.  Dennys,  in  the  Journal  of  the  Royal 
Asiatic  Society,  No.  18,  gives  an  alphabetical  list  of 
the  contents.  This  is  reproduced  in  his  Descriptive 
Dictionary  of  British  Malaya  (London,    1894). 

The  Essays  relating  to  Indo-China  (Trubner,  1885) 
are  in  four  volumes,  edited  by  Dr.  Rost.  The  principal 
matters  belonging  to  Singapore  referred  to  in  them 
are:  Vol.  I, .  Climate  of  Singapore,  tables,  1820-24; 
and  three  articles  on  the  "  Inscription  of  the  Jetty 
at  Singapore,"  telling  all  that  is  known  of  the  famous 
stone  the  fragment  of  which  was  sent  to  the  Calcutta 
Museum;  Vol.  II  has  a  long  article  by  J.  R.  Logan  on 
the  Local  and  Relative  Geology  of  Singapore ;  Vol.  I 
(second  series),  an  extremely  detailed  account  of  the 
Rocks  at  Pulo  Ubin. 


Journalism  has  not  been  without  incidents  in  Singa- 
pore. On  one  occasion  a  man  giving  a  false  military 
name,  and  being  afterwards  charged  with  cheating 
the  Robinson  Piano  Co.,  had  a  few  remarks  made  in 
the  newspaper  as  to  his  previous  career.  He  had 
been  given  the  chance  to  go  to  South  Africa,  where 
there  was  a  war  on,  and  had  refused,  and  the  Free  Press 
mildly  remarked  that  he  might  "  have  a  chance  to 
serve  the  Queen  in  a  less  honourable  capacity  than 
in  South  Africa."  The  man  took  this  amiss,  and  called 
on  the  Editor,  who  of  course  had  only  seen  the  paragraph, 
and  took  it  on  the  faith  of  his  sub.  The  end  of  the  inter- 
view was  a  week  in  hospital,  as  the  man  turned  nasty 


and  was  flung  down  a  flight  of  steps.  The  worst  part 
was  that  when  he  recovered  he  summoned  the  Editor 
for  causing  a  breach  of  the  peace,  and  the  magistrate 
on  the  Bench,  not  a  European,  bound  the  Editor  over 
to  keep  the  peace  ! 

Another  incident  during  the  tenure  of  Mr.  Arnot 
Reid's  editorship  of  the  Straits  Times  suggests  journal- 
istic vicissitudes  in  places  like  the  wilds  of  Texas  rather 
than  an  ultra-respectable  place  like  Singapore,  where 
the  Editor  always  wears  a  stiff  collar.  The  relief  of 
Mafeking  sent  a  thrill  through  the  Empire,  which 
found  a  responsive  echo  in  the  breasts  of  Singapore's 
staid  brokers.  The  place  rejoiced,  and  the  brokers 
found  themselves  not  too  busy  to  join  Harry  Abrams  in 
a  demonstration  which  began  at  the  Singapore  Club 
and  ended  in  a  couple  of  four-in-hands  driving  up  to 
Government  House  to  express  their  gladsomeness 
to  Sir  Alexander  Swettenham,  who  was  not  very  much 
cheered  by  the  visit.  In  the  plain  forcible  language 
that  characterised  Mr.  Reid,  he  penned  a  scathing  leading 
article,  full  of  personalities,  which  so  roused  the  ire 
of  some  of  the  leading  young  brokers  that  they  deter- 
mined to  wait  on  the  outspoken  Editor  and  express 
their  annoyance  with  a  horsewhip.  Mr.  Reid  heard 
of  the  intention,  and  the  deputation  found  a  sturdy 
Sikh  policeman  outside  the  editorial  sanctum,  and 
a  very  business-like-looking  revolver  by  the  side  of 
the  Editor,  who  expressed  his  determination  to  make 
use  of  it  on  the  very  first  man  who  raised  a  hand  against 
him.  The  deputation  was  rather  taken  aback  by 
this  resolute  attitude  of  the  little  man,  and  after  some 
hard  words  they  withdrew ;  but  for  some  days  after- 
wards the  Editor  had  his  policeman  on  guard  and 
following  him  about,  and  the  revolver  remained  a  paper- 
weight while  he  was  in  office.  The  matter  blew  over 
in  time,  but  many  people  thought  that  the  Editor  and 
his  plain  language  on  ''  mafficking  "  came  out  of  it  better 
than  the  threatening  brokers. 

The  writers  of  this  History  have  had  to  depend  largely 










Caricature  by  R.  W.  Braddell. 

lU  290] 

MAJOR  W.   G.   ST.   CLAIR  291 

upon  the  Press  of  the  past  for  facts  and  contemporary 
views.  Many  of  the  references  are  most  interesting, 
and  have  been  used.  Generally  contemporary  history 
has  faithfully  appraised  the  merits  of  a  policy  and  of  the 
makers  of  history  in  the  Colony,  and  these  have  been 
freely  used.  There  is  a  vast  deal  of  interesting  and 
curious  information  in  the  back  numbers  of  the  news- 
papers that  has  been  only  partly  dealt  with.  Some 
readers  may  be  of  opinion  that  more  might  have  been 
prudently  abandoned  to  **  the  all-recording,  all-effacing 
Files  ;  the  obliterating  automatic  Files  ;  our  news- 
paPere-la-Chaise,  the  office  Files." 

Mr.  W.  G.  St.  Clair's  connection  with  the  Press  of 
Malaya  dates  back  to  1 887,  when  he  was  selected  to  come 
out  as  Editor  of  the  revived  daily  Singapore  Free  Press. 
He  was  born  on  the  27th  March,  1849,  educated  at  the 
Royal  High  School,  Edinburgh,  Edinburgh  Institution, 
Ewart  Institute,  and  Edinburgh  University.  In  1874 
he  was  appointed  Head  Master  of  Moulmein  Town  School, 
Burma,  where  he  showed  the  abilities  as  a  rifle-shot 
and  a  musician  that  afterwards  became  so  markedly 
useful  to  the  community  in  Singapore.  His  great 
ability  in  English  and  classical  knowledge  and  his 
wordcraft  were  a  great  asset,  and  to  the  end  of  his 
long  career  as  a  journalist  he  never  suffered  himself, 
nor  allowed  anyone  else  if  he  could  help  it,  to  fall  short 
of  a  high  standard  of  English  writing,  his  particular 
knowledge  of  etymology  infallibly  leading  to  the  use 
of  right  words  in  the  right  places.  In  the  twenty-nine 
years  during  which  he  edited  the  Free  Press  he  was  never 
found  to  make  a  mistake  in  spelling,  and  few  people 
could  have  written  so  much  and  never  been  wanting 
in  that  respect.  He  was  essentially  an  Imperialist, 
and  made  a  profound  study  of  Imperial  and  constitu- 
tional politics,  and  never  failed  to  discuss  Imperialmatters 
in  the  broadest  mind  and  with  the  most  far-seeing  know- 
ledge. How  great  a  power  he  was  in  building  up  the  social 
and  artistic  life  of  Singapore  is  told  in  other  articles 
in  this  work.     A  skilful  musician,  he  founded,  and  by 


his  efforts  kept  going,  the  Philharmonic  Society.  Able 
to  sketch  well,  many  of  his  after-tiffin  effects  on  the 
menu  card  were  worth  a  second  look.  The  Singapore 
Volunteer  Artillery  was  to  a  large  extent  his  sturdy 
youngster,  and  in  1 90 1 ,  at  the  request  of  the  Government, 
he  carried  out  the  organisation  and  equipment  of  the 
Singapore  Volunteer  Rifles.  He  probably  shot  in 
more  interport  rifle  matches  than  any  other  represen- 
tative of  Singapore.  And  he  had  his  real  taste  of  real 
jungle  fighting  in  the  disturbances  in  Pahang  in  1892, 
as  Assistant  Commissioner  in  the  ist  Perak  Sikhs 
under  Lieutenant-Colonel  Frowde  Walker.  In  the 
course  of  the  expedition.  Captain  St.  Clair  led  a  force 
from  Raub  into  an  unexplored,  almost  unknown,  and 
difficult  piece  of  country,  and  captured  a  party  of  rebels. 
At  various  times  he  had  the  opportunity  of  meeting 
important  persons  who  passed  through  Singapore,  and 
discussing  matters  with  them,  later  receiving  letters 
as  to  the  value  of  the  views  he  had  put  before  them.  It 
was  through  Mr.  St.  Clair  that  Aguinaldo,  the  famous 
Filipino  leader,  was  introduced  in  the  Free  Press  office 
to  Mr.  Spencer  Pratt,  then  American  Consul-General 
in  Singapore,  and  was  invited  to  go  up  to  Hongkong 
and  meet  Admiral  Dewey  on  the  outbreak  of  hostilities 
between  Spain  and  the  United  States  in  1898.  He  was 
a  member  of  the  Imperial  Press  Conference  in  London 
in  1909.  In  his  long  career  as  doyen  of  the  Press  of  the 
Far  East,  Major  St.  Clair  made  hundreds  of  friends, 
and  when  he  vacated  the  editorial  chair  in  March  191 6 
on  retirement,  his  friends  subscribed  for  a  portrait 
of  him  by  the  late  Mr.  John  Adamson,  son  of  the  late 
Sir  William  Adamson,  which  is  the  presentment  of 
the  Major  in  this  book.  He  is  now  living  in  Barbados, 
having  found  that  the  climate  of  England  was  too 
severe  for  him  after  so  long  a  residence  in  the  tropics. 

"  Straits  Produce  " 
This,  the  only  (consciously)  comic  paper  of  Singapore, 
deserves  a  note  to  itself.     The  first  number  was  issued 

Editor,  Singapore  Free  Press,  1887-1916. 

ir.  292] 


in  1868,  and  subsequent  issues  are  dated  1870,  1893, 
July  1894,  ^^^  April  1895.  The  last  series  of  three 
was  due  to  the  collaboration  of  James  Miller  (Gilfillan, 
Wood  and  Co.)  and  David  Chalmers  Neave  (Eraser  and 
Neave).  The  former  was  a  clever  artist,  and  is  respon- 
sible for  most  of  the  line  drawing.  It  was  Mr.  Neave, 
however,  who  made  the  production  possible  by  himself 
etching  the  zinco-plates.  He  was  an  excellent  amateur 
photographer,  but  the  resources  of  the  Colony  in  "  block- 
making  "  were  scanty  in  those  days,  and  the  whole 
of  the  processes  had  to  be  carried  out  by  himself.  A 
cartoon  by  ''  Kyd  "  (R.  W.  Braddell)  in  No.  3  gives 
Mr.  Miller,  the  aim  of  the  paper  being  stated  in  the  same 
number"  to  msike  Straits  Produce  humorous  and  amus- 
ing without  admitting  anything  ill-natured  or  personally 
spiteful."  The  profits  were  given  to  the  St.  Nicholas 
Home,  the  predecessor  of  St.  Mary's. 

The  1870  number  no  doubt  reflected  public  opinion 
on  Sir  Harry  Ord's  unpopular  Government,  a  full- 
page  cartoon  dealing  with  St.  George  with  the  Drag-on, 
said  drag  being  the  five  Unofficial  Members  of  Council 
hanging  on  to  the  tail  of  the  Governor's  horse,  riding 
full-pelt  to  the  chasm  of  Debt  and  Despotism.  Later 
numbers  depict  well-known  incidents  and  men  of  the 
years  in  which  they  were  pubhshed.  Mr.  Buckley 
comes  in  a  song  (1895),  and  these  two  verses  are  character- 
istic of  him  and  of  the  spirit  of  the  paper  : 

When  he  goes  to  the  Club  for  his  cup  of  tea, 
On  drainage  hell  lecture  the  gallant  R.E., 
Hydraulics  he'll  teach  the  unlettered  C.E., 
And  expose  the  ignorance  of  McR — chie. 

When  the  limelight  he  works  upon  the  stage. 
He  refresheth  the  hearts  of  youth  and  age 
With  sweet  fairies  and  scenes  our  minds  engage. 
With  troubles  of  lovers  and  of  love  and  rage. 
And  the  Children  love  him  so. 

His  kindness  is  felt  by  all, 
Meanness  of  self  he  does  not  know, 
He  helpeth  those  who  fall. 

Much  history  in  prose,  verse,  and  picture  is  contained 
in   Straits   Produce.       Reproductions   of   its    line-work 


show  Mr.  T.  Shelford  when  the  Singapore  Free  Press,  of 
which  he  found  part  of  the  capital  to  re-estabhsh  it 
as  a  daily  paper,  called  on  all  members  of  the  Legislative 
Council  to  resign  ;  Sir  Frank  Swettenham,  then  in  Perak ; 
Mr.  John  Fraser,  "  our  jolly  old  Octopus  "  ;  and  Mr. 
Song  Ong  Siang  and  Dr.  Lim  Boon  Keng,  two  Queen's 
Scholars,  who  took  their  degrees  in  1893. 

The  Press  of  the  Domiciled  Community 

(For  the  following  particulars  the  author  of  this    article 
is  indebted  to  Mr.  A.  H.  Carlos) 

The  absence  of  newspapers  principally  devoted  to 
the  interest  of  the  Eurasian  community  is  explained 
by  the  fact  that  prior  to  the  'Seventies  there  was  no 
separation  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  Settlement  into 
classes.  Half  a  century  ago  the  Eurasian  did  not 
realise  that  his  powers  and  usefulness  would  extend 
beyond  that  of  his  ancestors.  Nor  had  he  any  reason  to 
foresee  the  growth  and  development  on  Western  lines 
of  the  fast-increasing  Chinese  population  here  domiciled. 
There  came  a  day,  however,  when  the  Eurasian  saw 
himself  being  gradually  isolated,  and  John  Hansen  in 
the  early  'Seventies  started  the  Straits  Intelligence^  to 
forward  the  interests  of  his  people.  Hansen  was  a 
piano-tuner  by  profession,  and  it  reflects  credit  on  him 
that  he  was  able  to  show  sufficient  energy  and  literary 
ability  to  start  a  newspaper.  It  was  printed  by  the 
Commercial  Press,  of  which  John  F.  Hansen  (his  father) 
and  A.  Zuzarte  were  the  proprietors.  The  paper  was 
short-lived,  and  this  discouraged  any  further  attempt 
for  some  years.  In  the  latter  part  of  1887  John  Nichol- 
son, encouraged  by  friends,  made  a  second  attempt  to 
found  a  paper  to  voice  the  sentiments  of  his  people, 
the  Singapore  Eurasian  Advocate,  and  the  idea  was 
supported  by  the  Singapore  Free  Press,  in  an  article  of 
the  nth  January  1888,  which  reads  : 

"  We  have  to  record  the  first  appearance  of  yet 
another  candidate  for  public  favour  in  the  field  of  local 

SONG  ONG  SIANG.         DR.  lylM  BOON  KEJNG. 

•I    WON'T    RESIGN!!!' 


-  ^-\J 

.,...,..,,          ^           OUB   ^OL 

K.  294] 

JOHN  frase;r. 


journalism.  It  is  not  long  ago  since  we  perused  the  pro- 
spectus of  the  new  paper  The  Singapore  Eurasian  Advocate, 
and  a  copy  of  the  first  issue  has  reached  us  to-day.  The 
Editor,  in  the  introductory  article,  describes  the  general 
policy  which  is  to  guide  him  in  the  conduct  of  his  paper. 
As  its  title  implies,  the  appeal  for  support  is  made  to  the 
particular  class  of  Singapore  residents  whose  interests 
are  to  be  the  special  care  of  the  new  venture.  It  is  a 
numerous  and  an  important  class  of  the  community,  and 
we  gather  that  with  some  few  exceptions  the  Eurasian 
residents  of  this  Settlement  have  accorded  their  new 
representative  organ  a  satisfactory  amount  of  support. 
Regret  is  expressed,  however,  that  the  exceptions  in  some 
instances  are  members  of  their  class  whose  success  in 
life  is  a  credit  to  themselves  and  to  the  whole  Eurasian 
community.  It  is  to  be  trusted,  for  the  sake  of  the 
continued  welfare  of  the  Singapore  Eurasian  Advocate y 
that  that  just  ground  of  complaint  will  be  removed  at  an 
early  date,  and  that  it  will  receive  the  support  and  secure 
that  success  which,  whether  it  command  it  or  not,  it  is 
evidently  determined  to  deserve.  The  main  difficulties 
to  be  encountered  will  possibly  arise  from  the  compara- 
tively limited  field  within  which  the  newspaper  will 
prosecute  its  special  labours  and  the  tendency  of  the 
Eurasian  and  European  sections  of  the  community  to 
blend  easily  and  naturally  into  one  owing  to  the  absence 
of  any  distinct  line  of  demarcation.  But  still  our 
contemporary  has  made  a  fairly  good  case  for  the 
establishment  of  the  Singapore  Eurasian  Advocate,  It 
will  pursue  its  special  mission  in  a  spirit  of  independent 
impartiality,  and  while  promising  its  sympathetic  aid 
in  all  cases  of  genuine  class-grievance,  it  honestly  declines 
to  listen  to  the  complaint  arising  from  self-sought  evils 
or  those  evils  which  are  the  deserved  result  of  ill- 
regulated  conduct.  With  this  honourable  mission  before 
it  our  new  contemporary  begins,  we  trust,  a  long  and 
prosperous  career." 

The  most  striking  points  in  the  paper  were  the  use 
of  the  term  "  Eurasian  "  and  the  public  announcement 
of  its  pohcy.  Ben  d'Aranjo  was  the  Editor.  It  lasted 
three  years.  Although  the  Editor  in  his  first  issue 
proclaimed  that  the  paper  would  pursue  its  mission  in  a 
n — 30 


spirit  of  independent  impartiality,  the  feeling  of  many 
of  the  community  was  that  by  neglecting  the  interests 
of  the  less  favoured  section  the  Advocate  did  not  voice 
the  Eurasians  of  Singapore  as  a  whole.  Nicholson's 
paper,  however,  if  it  did  nothing  else,  gave  the  com- 
munity a  stimulus,  and  with  serene  confidence  and  praise- 
worthy ideals,  John  Murray  Frois  (who  was  foreman 
compositor  in  the  Straits  Times)  started  his  own  printing 
business,  and  published  the  longest  lived  Eurasian  paper 
so  far.  Frois  was  a  self-educated  man,  having  acquired 
his  knowledge  of  English  letters  in  the  monotonous 
and  dreary  years  of  composing  and  proof-reading.  He 
started  a  paper  in  1 892,  and  called  it  the  Daily  Advertiser. 
The  first  editor  was  John  Webb,  a  European.  He  was 
an  erratic  worker,  and  it  was  not  long  before  Henry 
Barnaby  Leicester  was  engaged  to  write  the  editorials, 
with  D.  C.  Perreau  as  a  regular  contributor.  With 
regard  to  matters  foreign  the  paper  was  necessarily 
conservative,  but  it  could  not  be  anything  else  but 
democratic  in  local  topics.  It  ran  for  four  years.  It 
changed  its  name  to  the  Phoenix  Press.  The  promoters 
did  not  obtain  public  support,  and  the  paper  died  in  1900. 

It  was  not  until  1905  that  an  Indian  gentleman 
started  the  Eastern  Daily  Mail,  which  paper  ceased 
publication  abruptly  after  a  libel  case.  Years  rolled  on, 
and  with  grave  issues  to  discuss  the  Eurasians  remained 
without  a  paper.  Late  in  191 3  Mr.  D.  C.  Perreau 
conceived  the  idea  of  a  paper  run  by  wealthy  Chinese 
so  that  there  would  be  no  need  to  dread  financial  results. 
He  passed  the  idea  on  to  Dr.  Lim  Boon  Keng  and  Mr. 
Alexander  W.  Westerhout.  These  gentlemen  took  the 
matter   up,  and   the  result  was   the   Malaya  Tribune. 

With  a  view  to  make  his  journal  popular  Frois  had 
invited  the  Rev.  A.  Lamont  and  Tan  Teck  Soon  to 
contribute  articles.  These  gentlemen  were  strong  sup- 
porters of  the  Anti-Opium  League,  and,  instead  of 
contributing  to  the  columns  of  the  paper,  came  over  to 
have  a  look  round  the  printing  works.  The  result  was 
that  they  made  an  offer  for  the  works  and  the  paper  for 


propaganda  work,  and  eventually  bought  the  business. 
John  Murray  Frois  then  started  what  was  known  for 
some  time  as  the  Midday  Herald,  but  he  suffered  from 
the  want  of  a  strong  editorial  staff.  It  is  said  that  the 
paper  received  a  copy  of  a  speech  which  the  Governor 
intended  to  deliver  at  the  Council.  Instead  of  keeping 
this  speech  till  it  was  delivered,  Frois  inserted  it  in  his 
paper  the  day  previous,  and  was  consequently  the  laugh 
of  the  town.  Next  year,  1 898,  he  sold  his  paper  and  busi- 
ness to  Joseph  Castel  Pestana  and  Samuel  William 
Augustine,  both  retired  Government  servants.  Augus- 
tine took  charge  of  the  job-printing  department  while 
Pestana  ran  the  paper  with  W.  H.  Whitaker  as  Editor 
and  Benjamin  d'Aranjo  as  Sub-Editor.  The  new  paper 
was  called  the  Straits  Telegraph. 

Early  in  191 7  Mr.  T.  C.  Archer  mooted  the  question 
of  a  monthly  magazine,  and  at  first  was  not  able  to  bring 
it  out,  owing  to  the  War  ;  but  the  first  number  of  Our 
Magazine  duly  appeared  a  few  days  before  the  Centenary 
Day,  the  6th  February  19 19. 

In  the  late  'Eighties  appeared  numbers  of  the 
Rafflesian,  chronicling  the  doings  of  the  Raffles  School, 
and  giving  the  boys  an  impetus  in  literary  advancement 
and  sport.  It  was  conducted  by  J.  A.  dos  Remedios, 
and  during  his  absence  by  D.  C.  Perreau  and  Song  Ong 

The  Straits  Settlements  Association 

The  Straits  Settlements  Association  was  formed  in 
London  on  the  31st  January  1868,  and  the  Singapore 
Branch  on  the  20th  March  1868.  In  the  1872  Directory 
the  office  of  the  former  is  stated  to  be  21  St.  Swithin's 
Lane,  Cannon  Street,  and  the  list  of  officers  is  : 
President,  Rt.  Honourable  Ed.  Horsman,  M.P.  ;  Vice- 
Presidents  :  Colonel  Gray,  S.  Waterhouse,  Sir  James 
Elphinstone,  J.  H.  Burke,  Jacob  Bright,  G.  G.  Nicol, 
R.  N.  Fowler,  T.  A.  Mitchell,  E.  ,Haveland,  all  of  them 
Members  of  Parliament  except  G.  G.  Nicol  ;  Chairman, 
William   Napier  ;    Deputy  Chairman,  James   Guthrie  ; 


Hon.  Secretary,  P.  F.  Tidman  ;  Committee  :  Edward 
Boustead,  John  Harvey,  James  Fraser,  H.  M.  Simons, 
Jonathan  Padday,  W.  Mactaggart,  E.  J.  Leveson, 
J.  J.  Greenshields  (Singapore),  W.  W.  Shaw,  WiUiam 

The  Singapore  Branch  was  thus  constituted  : 
Chairman,  W.  H.  Read  ;  Deputy  Chairman,  Hon.  W. 
Adamson  ;  Committee,  R.  Padday,  J.  Cameron,  O. 
Mooyer,  J.  D.  Vaughan,  J.  Young,  J.  S.  Atchison, 
G.  H.  Reme  ;   Hon.  Secretary,  J.  S.  Atchison. 

There  was  also  a  Penang  Branch  (formed  the  28th  April 
1868):  Chairman,  L.  Navine  ;  Committee,  J.  Allan, 
A.  Gentle,  H.  J.  D.  Padday,  S.  Heriot  ;  Hon.  Secretary, 
Stuart  Heriot. 

A  reference  in  the  Singapore  Daily  Times  of  1869 
mentions  also  as  London  "  stalwarts  "  Gilman  and 
Little,  and  that  they  roused  the  local  Association  which 
had  A.  T.  Carmichael  (Manager,  Chartered  Bank)  for 
Chairman  and  W.  Adamson  as  Vice-Chairman.  In  1872 
the  Association  lodged  a  protest  against  the  Treaty  just 
concluded  with  the  Dutch  Government  concerning  the 
trade  of  Sumatra. 

Neither  Keaughran's  Directories  nor  those  issued  at 
the  Mission  Press  up  to  1882  mention  the  Association, 
and  we  have  to  come  to  1887  for  the  next  mention, 
in  the  Singapore  Free  Press. 

In  1888,  the  moving  spirit  being  Mr.  W.  G.  St.  Clair, 
then  here  a  little  over  a  year,  the  Straits  Branch  was 
reconstituted  and  reorganised,  the  usefulness  of  the 
Institution  having  been  insisted  on  at  a  home-going  dinner 
to  Mr.  T.  Shelford.  A  circular  was  issued  signed  by  Thos. 
Scott,  WiUiam  Adamson,  A.  L.  Donaldson,  A.  Currie, 
J.  R.  Cuthbertson,  C.  Stringer,  Wm.  McKerrow,  John 
Fraser,  W.  G.  St.  Clair,  and  Alex  Gentle,  Honorary 
Secretary.  The  annual  subscription  was  fixed  at  a  dollar, 
the  qualification  being  "  British  subjects,  natural-born 
or  naturahsed,"  Members  of  the  Legislative  Council  and 
salaried  officials  of  Government  to  be  ineligible  for 
election  to  the  Committee. 


The  first  general  meeting  of  the  reconstituted  Branch 
was  held  in  September  1888.  Among  those  present, 
still  in  the  Colony,  were  M.  A.  Cornelius,  T.  C.  Loveridge, 
W.  E.  Hooper,  W.  Makepeace  (Vice-President  in  191 8), 
and  Seah  Liang  Seah. 

Since  then  the  Branch  has  been  quietly  and  watchfully 
carrying  on  the  work  of  guarding  the  interests  of  un- 
official Singapore.  In  some  years  only  the  annual  general 
meeting  was  held,  but  when  a  subject  of  importance 
arose,  on  which  it  was  desirable  for  the  public  to  have  an 
opportunity  of  expressing  an  opinion,  the  Association 
has  done  its  work  in  pubUc  ;  such,  for  instance,  as  in  the 
Military  Contribution  Question,  when  Mr.  W.  J.  Napier 
framed  a  valuable  statement  of  the  case  of  the  Colony 
(1891).  Much  committee  and  sub-committee  work  was 
done,  one  notable  instance  being  an  enquiry  into  the 
working  of  the  Contagious  Diseases  Ordinances,  when 
they  were  about  to  be  repealed  (1899),  by  W.  G.  St. 
Clair,  S.  R.  Robinson,  and  Dr.  D.  J.  Galloway. 

In  1890  a  largely  attended  general  meeting  endorsed 
the  action  taken  by  the  Unofficial  in  opposing  the  in- 
creased military  contribution.  On  14th  March  1891 
a  great  public  meeting  backed  up  the  Association  and 
later  caused  a  petition  to  be  presented  to  Parliament, 
signed  by  1,000  British  subjects  in  Singapore.  At  the 
next  annual  general  meeting  the  Government  was  urged 
to  allow  an  appeal  from  the  tribunals  of  the  "  Protected 
Malay  States  "  to  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  Colony.  In 
1893  continued  action  was  taken  in  the  Mihtary  Con- 
tribution, and  in  conjunction  with  the  parent  association, 
a  deputation  waiting  on  the  Marquis  of  Ripon  on  the 
1 5th  May.  The  Committee  refused  to  commit  themselves 
to  bi-metalUsm,  as  asked  by  the  China  Association  in 
Shanghai  in  1 894. 

In  July  1894  a  deputation  waited  on  Sir  Charles 
Mitchell,  and  urged  that  their  claim  for  reconsideration 
of  the  amount  to  be  paid  as  military  contribution  be 
wired  home.  Through  all  this  strenuous  time  Mr.  W.  J. 
Napier   acted    as   Honorary  Secretary   and  Treasurer. 


Another  great  public  meeting  in  January  1895  endorsed 
the  action  of  Messrs.  Shelford,  Donaldson,  and  Seah 
Liang  Seah,  of  all  the  Justices  of  the  Peace,  and  of  the 
Chinese  Advisory  Board  in  resigning  their  offices.  In 
March  the  Committee  put  up  $1,100  in  the  room  to 
fight  the  exaction,  and  the  sum  expended  in  all  totalled 
$4,500.  So  vigorously  was  the  fight  continued  that 
eventually  17J  per  cent,  of  the  revenue  was  offered  and 
accepted  on  the  understanding  that  the  charge  was 
inclusive.  Mr.  Huttenbach  had  not  resigned,  and  was 
in  favour  of  20  per  cent,  being  offered.  On  the  con- 
clusion of  this  memorable  fight  the  Singapore  Branch 
placed  on  record  "  their  high  appreciation  of  the  energy 
with  which  the  Association  in  London  has  worked  on 
behalf  of  the  Colony  .  .  .  and  they  desire  especially  to 
thank  Mr.  William  Adamson  for  his  arduous  personal 
efforts  in  the  matter." 

Being  now  in  fighting  trim,  the  Association  in  1896 
tackled  the  Government  over  the  Municipal  Bill,  the 
Chairman,  Mr.  Thos.  Scott,  having  been  a  Municipal 
President  and  therefore  particularly  qualified  to  express 
an  opinion.  This  year  Mr.  W.  J.  Napier  was  appointed 
to  the  Legislative  Council. 

A  question  arising  as  to  the  scope  of  the  Association 
on  the  29th  October  1896,  it  was  affirmed  :  "  That  this 
Association  records  that  its  scope  includes  everything 
relating  to  the  Straits  Settlements  and  the  Malayan 
Archipelago  and  the  adjoining  countries."  This  was 
carried  by  seven  votes  to  one.  Although  Mr.  St.  Clair 
signed  these  minutes  at  the  next  meeting,  and  no 
record  is  made  of  the  dissentient,  one  can  guess  who  it 

In  1897  the  Association  here  and  at  home  took  up 
the  effect  of  the  repeal  of  the  Contagious  Diseases 
Ordinance,  also  the  action  of  the  opium  farmer  in 
altering  the  size  of  the  packets.  In  September  1898,  in 
conjunction  with  the  Chamber  of  Commerce,  a  meeting 
was  organised  to  hear  Lord  Charles  Beresford  on  China. 
Matters  went  quietly  for  some  years.     The  Association 


refused  to  be  drawn  into  the  question  of  the  Teluk  Ayer 
Reclamation  Works,  but  pressed  for  a  river  improve- 
ment scheme.  It  also  called  a  public  meeting,  which 
almost  unanimously  disapproved  of  the  expropriation 
of  Tanjong  Pagar  and  the  construction  of  the  inner 
harbour,  in  view  of  the  altered  financial  position  of  the 
Colony.  There  was  a  strong  opinion  in  favour  of  can- 
celling Sir  John  Jackson's  contract. 

Next  the  Association  was  found,  191 1,  opposing  an 
income-tax  and  proposed  municipal  legislation,  public 
meetings  endorsing  their  action  in  each  case. 

In  191 5,  1916,  191 7,  the  Association  organised  and 
carried  out  the  war  "  inflexible  determination  "  meetings. 
Finally,  on  the  13th  December  191 8,  an  enthusiastic 
pubhc  meeting  to  vote  for  the  exclusion  of  German 
subjects  for  ten  years  was  held. 

The  Straits  Philosophical  Society 

The  Straits  Philosophical  Society  was  founded  in  the 
year  1893  (the  5th  March)  under  the  presidency  of 
Major-General  Sir  Charles  Warren,  G.C.M.G.,  K.C.B., 
having  for  its  object  the  critical  discussion  of  questions  in 
philosophy,  history,  theology,  literature,  science,  and 
art.  The  first  members  were  the  Rev.  G.  M.  Reith, 
M.A.  (Secretary  and  Treasurer),  the  Hon.  (later  Sir) 
John  Winfield  Bonser,  Mr.  (now  Sir)  Walter  Napier, 
Mr.  H.  N.  Ridley,  C.M.G.,  Mr.  R.  W.  Hullett,  Mr.  (now 
Sir)  J.  Bromhead  Matthews,  Mr.  J.  McKillop,  Dr.  D.  J. 
Galloway,  Mr.  A.  Knight,  Mr.  Tan  Teck  Soon,  the  Hon. 
T.  Shelford,  C.M.G.,  Dr.  G.  D.  Haviland,  the  Hon.  R.  N. 
Bland,  C.M.G.,  and  the  Hon.  C.  W.  Kynnersley. 

The  active  membership  was  limited  to  fifteen  in 
number,  and  preference  was  given  to  graduates  of 
universities,  fellows  of  a  British  or  European  learned 
society,  and  persons  of  distinguished  merit.  The  active 
members  had  to  be  residents  in  Singapore  ;  but  residents 
in  the  other  Settlements  and  in  the  Malay  Peninsula 
might  be  enrolled  as  corresponding  members  at  a 
reduced  subscription. 


It  was  the  rule  of  the  Society  to  meet  monthly,  the 
members  dining  together  before  the  paper  was  read 
and  discussed.  The  entrance  fee  was  $5,  and  the  annual 
subscription  $25.  Fines  were  imposed  on  members 
who  were  absent  without  approved  cause. 

Among  the  many  who  have  rendered  service  to  this 
Society  in  its  long  and  honourable  career,  three  are 
worthy  of  special  mention  :  the  Hon.  W.  R.  Collyer, 
I.S.O.,  who  was  President  for  ten  years  (i 894-1901, 
1902-6)  ;  Mr.  H.  N.  Ridley,  C.M.G.,  who  was  Presi- 
dent for  five  years  (1907-12)  ;  and  Mr.  Arthur  Knight, 
who  was  Secretary  for  twenty  years. 

In  191 3  a  selection  of  essays  read  before  the  Society 
between  1893  ^^^  19 10  was  published  in  a  volume, 
entitled  Nodes  Orientales,  under  the  editorship  of  Mr. 
Ridley.  The  essays  selected  are  such  as  have  special 
local  interest,  or  such  as  throw  light  on  the  Oriental 
aspect  of  various  subjects  ;  and  in  this  permanent 
form  are  a  testimony  to  the  valuable  work  the  Society 
has  done. 

In  recent  years  the  Society  has  carried  on  its  work 
amid  difficulties  ;  and  to  meet  the  situation  the  sub- 
scription has  been  reduced.  When  war  broke  out 
many  of  the  members  left  the  Colony  for  national  service, 
while  such  as  remained  were  overtaxed  by  business  and 
military  service,  and  found  themselves  unable  to  devote 
to  the  Society  the  attention  necessary  for  its  efficient 
working.  However,  in  spite  of  these  difficulties,  and 
owing  to  the  zeal  of  successive  Presidents — Mr.  A.  W. 
Still  and  Dr.  Lim  Boon  Keng — the  meetings  have  con- 
tinued to  be  held  at  regular  intervals. 

A  complete  record  of  the  Society's  proceedings  is  pre- 
served in  the  pubUc  libraries  of  Singapore  and  Penang. 


At  the  farewell  banquet  to  the  Hon.  W.  R.  Collyer, 
in  the  Singapore  Club  on  the  19th  January  1906,  a 
photo  was  taken.  The  following  members  may  be  seen 
in  it : 


Back  row  {left  to  right)  :    Mr.  Tan  Teck  Soon  ;    Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Sankey,  R.E.  ;    Rev.  W.  Murray,  M.A. 
Hon.  W.  R.  Collyer,  I.S.O.  ;    Mr.  H.  N.  Ridley,  M.A. 
F.R.S.  ;    Mr.   A.    Knight  ;    Lieutenant-Colonel    Penne- 
father  ;  Dr.  G.  E.  Brooke  ;  Mr.  H.  F.  Rankin,  F.E.LS. 
Dr.  D.  J.  Galloway. 

Front  row   {left  to  right)  :    Mr.  R.  W.  Hullett,  M.A 
Dr.  Lim  Boon  Keng  ;   R.  Hanitsch,  Ph.D.  ;   Lieutenant 
J.  N.  Biggs,  R.G.A.  ;    Mr.  G.  E.  V.  Thomas  ;    Mr.  C 
Emerson;  Mr.  P.  J.  Burgess,  M.A. ;  Major  Ritchie,  M.B 

St.  Andrew's  Society 

Scotsmen  have  played  no  insignificant  part  in  the 
history  of  the  Colony  from  its  very  beginning.  In 
every  side  of  its  life — civil,  mercantile,  social,  rehgious, 
and  educational — they  have  had  a  share.  We  are  sure 
the  national  sentiment  would  not  be  without  some 
forms  of  expression  during  the  first  two  decades,  although 
our  incomplete  annals  have  no  record  of  it ;  but  it  showed 
itself  later  in  the  institution  of  the  Scots'  Church,  a 
movement  which  began  in  the  early  'Forties  and  took 
shape  in  a  permanent  institution  ten  years  later.  In 
1 879  (the  2nd  December)  a  St.  Andrew's  Ball  was  held  in 
the  Singapore  Club,  and  it  has  been  ever  since  a  fairly 
regular  annual  event,  though  now  and  again  a  banquet 
has  been  substituted.  In  recent  years,  until  the  out- 
break of  war,  a  Scottish  Universities'  Dinner  has  been 
instituted  and  held  on  Hallow-e'en  (the  31st  October). 

On  the  27th  November  1908  St.  Andrew's  Society 
was  formed  that  *'  there  might  be  in  Singapore  a  regu- 
larly constituted  body  of  Scotsmen  under  whose 
auspices  and  control  the  anniversary  of  St.  Andrew 
may  be  observed,  and  who  may  take  cognizance  of, 
discuss,  and  take  steps  in  regard  to  any  matters  which 
possess  a  national  and  local  interest  by  donations  from 
the  Society's  funds  or  otherwise."  The  Society  was  also 
to  be  ''  a  charitable  institution  to  relieve  distressed  and 
deserving  countrymen  in  so  far  as  considered  desirable 
and  the  funds  will  permit." 


In  that  year  (1908)  both  the  Governor  and  the  Colonial 
Secretary  were  Scotsmen  ;  the  former  (Sir  John  Ander- 
son, G.C.M.G.)  became  Patron,  and  the  latter  (Sir 
Arthur  Henderson  Young,  K.C.M.G.)  President.  The 
other  members  of  this  the  first  committee  of  the  Society 
were  the  Hon.  Dr.  D.  J.  Galloway  (Vice-President),  Mr. 
James  Henry  (Secretary),  and  Mr.  J.  J.  Macbean 
(Treasurer).     The   membership  in  the   first  year  was 


Succeeding  Presidents  have  been  Dr.  Galloway,  W.  W. 
Cook,  Frank  Adam,  and  Captain  Chancellor.  Special 
mention  should  be  made  of  Mr.  Frank  Adam,  who  held 
the  office  for  five  years,  and  whose  enthusiasm  in  all 
things  Scottish  was  unique.  Besides  being  a  recognised 
authority  on  the  Scottish  clans  and  tartans,  he  was  a 
piper,  and  organised  a  company  of  "  Pipers  of  Malaya." 
He  also  had  a  scheme  for  the  formation  of  a  local  corps 
of  Scottish  Volunteers  ;  but  the  outbreak  of  war  and 
his  own  retirement  from  the  Colony  in  191 8  interrupted, 
but,  let  us  hope,  only  delayed,  its  completion  and  realisa- 

Under  the  auspices  of  the  Society  the  observance  of 
St.  Andrew's  Day  became  a  permanent  institution. 
Burns 's  Anniversary  (25th  January)  was  also  frequently 
kept  by  holding  a  Scottish  concert  for  charitable  pur- 
poses, and  for  the  success  of  these  concerts  during  a 
number  of  years  the  Society  owed  a  great  deal  to  the 
capable  leadership  of  Mr.  Alex.  Proctor. 

When  war  broke  out  in  19 14,  the  Society  resolved  to 
suspend  for  the  time  the  usual  national  celebrations,  and 
to  ask  Scotsmen  to  contribute  to  war  funds  what  was 
usually  given  to  these  functions,  and  as  much  more  as 
they  could  afford.  The  result  of  this  appeal  has  been 
that  about  $25,000  has  been  raised  to  date;  and  out 
of  this  sum  help  has  been  given  to  the  Prince  of  Wales's 
Fund,  the  Belgian  Rehef  Fund,  and  the  fund  for  pro- 
viding comforts  for  Scottish  soldiers,  the  last-named 
getting  the  largest  share  of  the  assistance. 


The  British  and  Foreign  Bible  Society 

As  early  as  1825  Raffles  wrote  to  the  headquarters  of 
the  Society  in  London,  urging  the  appointment  of  a 
lay-agent  for  Singapore  at  a  salary  of  ;^  100  a  year  with 
travelling  expenses.  He  had  experience  of  the  Society's 
work  in  Batavia,  where  an  auxiliary  had  been  estab- 
lished in  1 814  under  his  patronage  ;  and  also  in  Ben- 
coolen,  where  its  good  work  had  much  impressed  him. 
The  Society's  practical  interest  in  this  part  of  the 
world  at  that  early  period  was  proved  by  its  issue  of  a 
Malay  version  of  the  Bible  from  its  Calcutta  auxiliary 
in  1 814,  and  by  the  encouragement  it  gave  to  mission- 
aries in  the  work  of  translation  and  distribution  in 
Malacca,  Penang,  and  Java. 

Although  more  than  half  a  century  was  to  elapse 
before  the  desired  agency  was  to  be  estabhshed,  the 
work  for  which  the  Society  stood  was  not  neglected. 
In  1837  a  local  Auxiliary  Society  was  formed,  in  which 
the  Resident  Councillor,  Dr.  Oxley,  and  other  leading 
residents,  together  with  Protestant  clergymen,  took  a 
share.  It  had  for  its  depot  a  two-storied  building  on 
the  site  now  occupied  by  the  Raffles  Girls*  School. 
The  removal  of  nearly  all  missionaries  to  China  in  1 847, 
when  that  closed  land  opened  its  doors  to  foreigners, 
must  have  been  a  blow  to  the  work  of  this  auxiliary, 
and  probably  accounts  for  the  fact  that  its  existence  is 
lost  sight  of  in  succeeding  records. 

In  1857  a  Ladies'  Bible  and  Tract  Society  was  formed, 
and  had  the  influential  support  of  Mrs.  Cavenagh  and 
Lady  Ord  as  its  successive  Presidents.  It  employed  a 
Malay  colporteur,  issued  a  religious  magazine  called 
The  Christian  in  Singapore,  and  instituted  a  monthly 
prayer-meeting  in  which  members  from  all  the  churches 
united.  In  1870  this  Ladies'  Society  co-operated  in  the 
formation  of,  and  became  absorbed  in,  a  new  auxiliary 
of  the  Bible  Society,  of  which  the  Rev.  B.  P.  Keasberry 
was  President,  Rev.  W.  Dale  Secretary,  and  Mr.  Isaac 
Henderson  Treasurer. 


The  death  of  Mr.  Keasberry  in  1876  was  a  great  blow. 
He  had  issued  in  the  name  of  the  Society  his  Malay 
version  of  the  New  Testament  in  1853  in  Roman  char- 
acter, and  in  1856  in  Arabic  character.  In  1859  his 
version  of  the  Old  Testament  began  to  appear  with  the 
publication  of  Proverbs  ;  and  was  followed  in  1873  by 
the  Psalms,  in  1874  by  Isaiah,  and  in  1875  by  2  Kings. 
"  Now  that  he  is  gone,"  writes  the  Secretary,  ''there  is 
not  one  in  the  Peninsula  to  labour  for  the  Malays,  nor 
is  there  a  Protestant  missionary  for  the  multitude  of 
Chinese  in  the  town."  For  six  years  the  local  auxiliary 
struggled  with  the  difficulties  of  the  situation,  and 
reports  show  that  about  1,200  copies  of  the  Scriptures  a 
year  were  distributed  or  sold  by  voluntary  workers. 

In  1880  Miss  Cooke,  of  the  Chinese  Girls'  School,  who 
had  been  working  in  the  Colony  for  thirty  years,  pressed 
upon  the  Committee  in  London  the  need  for  organised 
work,  and  the  local  auxiliary  sent  an  urgent  request 
for  the  appointment  of  a  qualified  agent.  The  claims 
of  Singapore  were,  moreover,  zealously  supported  by  Sir 
Arthur  Cotton.  At  this  juncture  Mr.  John  Haifenden 
offered  his  services  to  the  Society.  Age,  character,, 
linguistic  knowledge,  and  familiarity  with  the  East 
marked  him  out  as  in  many  ways  qualified  for  the  work, 
and  in  1882  he  received  the  appointment  as  the  first 
agent  for  Malaysia.  He  held  the  office  for  the  long  term 
of  twenty-three  years,  during  which  the  work  spread 
and  developed  in  every  direction.  In  1905  the  Rev. 
P.  G.  Graham  succeeded  him  ;  and  he  later  was  followed 
by  Mr.  C.  E.  G.  Tisdall,  the  present  holder  of  the  office. 

The  first  depot  was  at  591  Victoria  Street,  and  after 
occupying  several  hired  quarters  in  different  parts  of 
the  town,  it  entered  its  present  permanent  premises  in 
Armenian  Street  in  1909. 

The  Singapore  depot  is  now  the  centre  for  the  distribu- 
tion of  the  Scriptures  in  the  Malay  Peninsula  and  Archi- 
pelago, including  the  Dutch  East  Indies,  and  the  agent 
has  several  sub-agents  co-operating  with  him.  From  1 882 
to  191 7  the  sales  amounted  to  2,571,000  copies  in  forty 


languages,  and  during  the  last  ten  years  as  many  copies 
have  been  sold  as  in  the  previous  twenty-six  years.     A 
version  of  the  New  Testament  in  Baba  Malay,  translated  , 
by  Dr.  Shellabear,  was  issued  in  191 3. 

The  Boustead  Institute 

The  origin  of  this  useful  Institution  may  be  traced 
to  Miss  Cooke,  one  of  the  most  indefatigable  religious 
and  social  workers  which  Singapore  ever  had.  In  1882 
she  started  a  Sailors'  Rest  in  Tanjong  Pagar  Road,  near 
the  Kreta  Ayer  Police  Station,  in  association  with  Mr. 
Hocquard,  another  missionary  worker.  She  collected 
subscriptions  towards  it  from  all  the  leading  merchants, 
and  the  Institution  so  prospered  that  the  premises  were 
soon  found  to  be  too  small.  Among  those  who  took  an 
interest  in  it  was  Mr.  Edward  Boustead,  of  Messrs. 
Boustead  and  Co.  On  his  death,  in  1891,  Mr.  Boustead 
bequeathed  ;^9,ooo  for  the  purpose  of  an  Institute  for 
Seamen.  At  the  rate  of  exchange  then  prevalent  (3s.  s^d,) 
this  amounted  to  $55,207.67. 

The  company  which  was  formed  and  registered  for 
the  execution  of  this  bequest  consisted  of  the  Honourable 
J.  Finlayson  (Chairman  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce), 
John  Blair  (Manager  of  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.),  the 
Honourable  T.  Shelford,  James  Miller,  John  Anderson, 
C.  Sugden,  and  T.  C.  Bogaardt.  In  the  Memorandum 
of  Association  the  purpose  of  the  Institute  is  thus  defined : 
"  to  found  and  maintain  in  Singapore  an  Institute  for 
the  use  of  seamen  or  seafaring  men  and  dock  employees 
frequenting  or  residing  in  Singapore,  where  such  persons 
may  be  provided  with  means  of  shelter,  rest,  recreation, 
amusement,  or  intellectual  cultivation  "  ;  and  "  to 
permit  the  buildings  of  the  Institute  and  the  means  of 
recreation,  etc.,  to  be  used  and  enjoyed  by  persons  other 
than  those  mentioned  above,  as  the  Institute  may  from 
time  to  time  think  fit."  It  is  provided  also  that  the 
Committee  of  Management  consist  of  the  following 
persons,  being  British  subjects  :  the  Chairman  or  Deputy 
Chairman  of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce ;    the  Manager 


or  Chairman  of  the  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.,  and  a 
partner  (or  manager)  of  the  following  firms — Boustead 
and  Co. ;  Paterson,  Simons  and  Co. ;  Gilfillan,  Wood 
and  Co. ;  Guthrie  and  Co.  ;  the  Borneo  Co.  ;  and  W. 
Mansfield  and  Co. 

The  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Co.,  Ltd.,  presented  the 
building  site,  and  the  Institute  was  opened  on  Saturday, 
the  2nd  July  1892,  by  H.E.  the  Governor,  Sir  C. 
Clementi  Smith.  H.E.  the  Governor  and  the  then 
reigning  Sultan  of  Johore  were  elected  patrons  and 
honorary  life  members. 

Two  adjoining  shop-houses  were  purchased  in  1892, 
and  four  more  in  1893,  with  a  view  of  extending  the 
premises  if  found  desirable.  The  balance  of  funds 
remaining  after  the  erection  of  the  Institute  and  the 
purchase  of  the  adjacent  houses  has  been  invested  in 
various  local  banks  as  fixed  deposits,  and  in  Straits 
Settlements  War  Loan.  The  interest  from  these  invest- 
ments, with  the  rents  of  the  shop-houses,  has  enabled  the 
Institute  charges  for  board  and  lodging  to  be  kept  low. 

In  the  Institute  building,  which  occupies  a  conspicuous 
site  at  the  main  entrance  to  the  docks,  there  may  be 
found  a  well-supplied  reading-room  and  library,  pro- 
vision for  billiards  and  other  games,  a  refreshment-bar, 
where  beer  and  light  wines  are  sold  but  no  spirits,  and 
a  large  hall.  There  is  also  accommodation  for  fourteen 
boarders,  and  the  average  daily  number  of  beds  occupied 
before  the  outbreak  of  war  was  75  per  cent.,  and  since 
then  63  per  cent.  Temporary  accommodation  for  sailors 
of  H.M.  ships  visiting  the  port  is  frequently  provided 
in  the  large  hall,  some  thirty  camp  cots  and  rugs  being 
kept  for  the  purpose.  Divine  service  is  held  in  the  large 
hall  every  Sunday  night. 

Young  Men's  Christian  Association 

In  1887  there  was  a  Young  Men's  Christian  Associa- 
tion, having  headquarters  in  the  Christian  Institute  in 
Middle  Road,  and  providing  a  reading-room,  debates,  and 
recreations   for  members.     But   its   career  was   short- 


lived,  and  it  had  no  connection  with  the  world-wide 
organisation  known  as  the  Y.M.C.A. 

In  1892,  at  a  missionary  conference  representing 
chiefly  Presbyterian  and  Methodist  Missions,  a  strong 
desire  was  expressed  for  the  establishing  of  Y.M.C.A. 
work  in  the  city.  But  a  committee  appointed  to  con- 
sider the  scheme  having  reported  that  the  difficulties 
of  obtaining  a  suitable  building  and  worker  were  in- 
superable, nothing  further  was  done. 

On  the  17th  August  1900  an  appeal  was  sent  to  the 
Y.M.C.A.  headquarters  in  London,  signed  by  the  Hon. 
W.  R.  Collyer,  Hon.  E.  C.  Hill,  Archdeacon  Perham, 
Revs.  S.  S.  Walker,  W.  G.  Shellabear,  W.  T.  Cherry, 
A.  R.  Thoburn,  and  others,  with  the  result  that  Mr.  R.  D. 
Pringle,  who  had  had  previous  experience  in  Bombay 
and  Colombo,  was  appointed  Organising  Secretary  for 
Singapore  and  Malaya.  He  began  his  work  in  1903,  and 
the  first  rooms  of  the  Association  were  at  1-2  Armenian 
Street,  opened  on  the  30th  June,  1903.-  The  following 
formed  the  first  local  committee  :  Hon.  W.  R.  Collyer 
(President),  Hon.  E.  C.  Hill  (Vice-President),  Mr.  J.  M. 
Hart  (Treasurer) ;  Archdeacon  Dunkerley,  Revs.  S.  S. 
Walker,  W.  P.  Rutledge,  C.  S.  Buchanan,  and  Messrs. 
A.  Barker,  S.  Tomlinson,  A.  Reid,  J.  Polglase,  E.  V. 
Mitchelmore,  A.  L.  Koenitz,  and  J.  Haffenden.  The 
Bishop  of  Singapore  (Dr.  Hose)  became  a  Patron,  and 
the  Hon.  Dato  Meldrum,  of  Johore,  an  Hon.  Vice-Presi- 

In  the  following  year  Zetland  House,  Armenian 
Street,  was  taken  for  residential  purposes,  and  some 
months  later  the  headquarters  were  moved  into  the 
same  building.  These  premises  soon  proved  very  in- 
adequate for  the  work  of  the  Association,  which  com- 
prised reading  and  recreation  rooms,  educational  and 
religious  meetings,  as  well  as  boarding  accommodation. 
By  the  kindness  of  Government  an  excellent  site  for  a 
permanent  building  was  obtained  in  Stamford  Road,  at 
the  corner  of  Fort  Canning  Road.  On  the  28th  August 
1909  the  corner-stone  was  laid,  and  on  the  i6th  February 


191 1  the  building  was  officially  opened,  both  functions 
being  performed  by  H.E.  the  Governor,  Sir  John 
Anderson,  K.C.M.G.,  who  held  the  office  of  a  Patron  of 
the  Association  during  his  administration  of  the  Colony. 
The  total  cost  of  the  building  with  furnishings  was 
$81,000.  Mr.  Pringle,  who  for  sixteen  years  has  given 
his  undivided  attention  to  the  work  in  Singapore  and 
Malaya,  was  instrumental  in  raising  this  large  sum  from 
donors  in  the  Straits,  Great  Britain,  and  Australia.  Sir 
Robert  Laidlaw  was  a  specially  generous  benefactor. 

The  new  building  enabled  the  Association  to  provide 
for  more  educational  work,  and  classes  have  been  opened 
for  shorthand,  typewriting,  book-keeping,  singing, 
mathematics,  architecture,  sanitary  science,  electrical 
engineering,  etc.,  for  some  of  which  Government  grants-in- 
aid  were  made.  It  also  provided  more  accommodation 
for  boarders.  Besides  the  usual  Y.M.C.A.  activities, 
many  other  useful  institutions  have  found  a  home  in  the 
building — Boy  Scouts,  Ministering  Children's  League, 
Band  of  Hope,  Good  Templars,  and  Chess  Club. 

Mr.  L.  Gordon  Cranna  succeeded  Mr.  Pringle  as  General 
Secretary  in  191 7,  and  has  made  many  useful  improve- 
ments in  the  building  by  rearrangement  and  extension. 
Under  him  the  Association  turned  its  attention  to  work 
for  the  Army  and  Navy,  and  during  the  last  years  of 
the  War  the  building  was  a  popular  resort  of  members 
of  the  forces. 

Although  the  Association  has  no  mean  record  in  cricket 
and  football  matches,  it  has  always  been  handicapped  by 
the  want  of  a  field  of  its  own  for  outdoor  sport. 

Young  Women's  Christian  Association 

The  beginning  of  the  Y.W.C.A.  dates  from  1875,  when 
Miss  Sophia  Cooke  gathered  together  about  twelve 
Chinese  girls  and  a  few  Europeans  for  a  monthly  meeting 
at  her  school  on  Government  Hill.  At  these  meetings 
records  kept  by  the  older  Chinese  girls  of  their  visits  to 
heathen  houses  were  read,  magazines  and  other  literature 
were  distributed,  and  Bible  readings  or  addresses  were 

WOMEN'S  WORK  311: 

given  by  Miss  Cooke,  Colonel  Johnston  Tuck,  or  some 
other  Christian  worker.  Garments  were  made  for  the 
poor  in  Whitechapel,  and  flowers  with  Scripture  texts 
were  prepared  for  distribution  to  the  sick  in  the  General 
Hospital  or  houses  visited  weekly. 

After  the  death  of  Miss  Cooke,  in  1 895,  Miss  Eyre  came 
from  Hongkong  to  reorganise  the  work,  and  during  her 
stay  of  five  months  here  about  twenty  new  members 
joined.  In  1 896  Miss  Brown  became  Honorary  Secretary 
and  Treasurer,  beginning  a  period  of  service  for  the 
Society  which  has  continued  unbroken  to  the  present 
day.  Mrs.  W.  H.  Frizell  became  President,  and  inaugu- 
rated the  library  of  the  Association.  Other  members  of 
this  first  committee  were  Miss  Blackmore,  Mrs.  Shella- 
bear,  Miss  Ryan,  Miss  Gage-Brown,  and  Mrs.  Hose. 
In  the  year  1898  the  membership  had  risen  to  102,  of 
whom  thirty-nine  were  Chinese. 

In  1907  Miss  Ellis  was  sent  out  from  England  to 
become  local  Organising  Secretary  in  Singapore,  being 
supported  by  North  of  England  branches  for  three  years. 
Waterloo,  River  Valley  Road,  was  rented.  From  this 
date  the  membership  began  rapidly  to  increase,  and 
new  agencies,  such  as  lectures  on  ambulance  and  nursing 
and  outdoor  recreations,  were  added. 

In  191 3  Miss  Radford  became  General  Secretary,  and 
during  her  stay  a  permanent  home  was  secured  for  the 
Association  by  the  purchase  of  a  house  on  Fort  Canning 
Road  ;  and  also  a  branch  was  begun  in  Kuala  Lumpur. 
In  191 7  Miss  Hughes  succeeded  Miss  Radford  as 
Secretary,  and  under  her  the  progress  of  the  Association 
was  still  further  developed. 

The  latest  report  (191 8)  records  a  membership  of 
418,  namely  301  Europeans  and  Eurasians,  115  Chinese, 
and  two  Japanese.  Classes  have  been  held  for  short- 
hand, typewriting,  French,  Malay,  singing,  cookery, 
first-aid,  and  dressmaking.  In  connection  with  the 
commercial  classes  are  the  "  Mary  FowUe  "  Scholarships, 
which  commemorate  the  long  and  disinterested  service 
of  Mrs.  Fowlie  to  the  Association.     There  is  also  a  hostel 

II — 21 


for  permanent  boarders  as  well  as  visitors,  and  travellers 
are  met  and  helped  in  numerous  ways.  In  connection 
with  the  Y.W.C.A.  is  a  company  of  Girl  Guides. 

The  Singapore  Club 

The  Singapore  Club  was  first  established  in  1862,  and 
was  then  situated  in  Beach  Road.  The  first  officials  of 
the  Club  were:  Chairman,  W.  H.  Read  (A.  L.  Johnston 
and  Co.) ;  Secretary,  R.  B.  Read  (A.  L.  Johnston  and  Co.) ; 
Treasurer,  A.  Bauer  (Zapp,  Ritterhaus  and  Co.) ;  Com- 
mittee :  T.  Braddell  (Logan  and  Braddell),  C.  H.  Harrison 
(Middleton,  Harrison  and  Co.),  Captain  Protheroe  (40th 
Madras  Infantry,  A.D.C.  to  the  Governor),  Captain 
Tireman  (Madras  Staff  Corps,  Deputy  Assistant  Com- 
missary General),  A.  Schrieder  (Behn,  Meyer  and  Co.). 

The  Club  removed  in  1869  to  premises  in  De  Souza 
Street,  and  later  to  Raffles  Square,  at  the  back  of  premises 
on  the  site  now  occupied  by  John  Little  and  Co.  In  1 876 
larger  premises  were  required,  and  the  Chamber  of 
Commerce  and  Singapore  Exchange  obtained  a  lease  of 
the  present  site  from  Government  for  the  purpose  of 
erecting  a  building  suitable  for  a  Chamber  of  Commerce, 
Singapore  Exchange,  and  a  Club.  The  present  building 
was  officially  opened  in  1879,  and  the  first  function  given 
in  the  Club  was  a  St.  Andrew's  Ball. 

Association  of  Engineers 

Founded  on  the  7th  December  1881,  the  Association 
of  Engineers  is  one  of  the  oldest  institutions  in  the 
Colony  with  a  continuous  history. 

Previous  to  this  the  engineers  had  no  meeting-place 
other  than  the  various  hotels,  and  no  association  or 
society  to  guard  their  interests.  The  need  for  such 
a  society  had  been  felt  for  some  time,  and  this  feeling 
was  brought  to  a  head  by  an  incident  which  occurred 
on  board  a  Spanish  steamer  somewhere  about  October 
1 88 1.  The  account  which  follows  is  given  by  an  old 
member  (Mr.  J.  H.  Drysdale)  from  memory,  and  the 


incident  has  not  been  mentioned  in  the  local   Press, 
so  it  has  not  been  possible  to  verify  all  the  details : 

"  Like  many  other  good  institutions,  the  Engineers' 
Association  was  called  into  being  by  necessity. 

"  Up  to  the  end  of  1881  the  engineers  of  the  port 
associated  in  an  informal  way  at  the  various  hotels  : 
the  old  Adelphi,  then  the  Hotel  de  la  Paix  and  the 
Europe,  also  Emmerson's  where  the  Whiteaway  Laidlaw 
buildings  now  are.  And  they  always  wound  up  the 
evening  at  Finkelstein's  Tingle-Tangle,  and  often  it 
was  a  boisterous  wind-up. 

"  In  October  there  arrived  from  Europe  a  new  steamer, 
the  Leo  XIII,  a  Spanish  ship  and  crew,  with  three 
English  engineers  put  on  board  by  the  builders  to  see 
the  vessel  safely  delivered  at  Manila. 

"  In  those  days  all  sea-going  ships  used  salt  water 
in  the  boilers,  and  required  blowing  occasionally  to 
prevent  the  water  getting  too  dense,  salting  up.  The 
Spanish  engineers  objected  to  this  on  account  of  the 
extra  fuel  consumed.  On  the  English  engineers  insisting 
on  the  blowing  down,  a  row  ensued,  and  the  Spanish 
captain  promptly  locked  them  up  in  their  cabins.  The 
ship  burnt  less  fuel,  but  started  burning  tube-ends,  etc. 
She  limped  into  Singapore  somehow,  and  coaled. 
The  prisoners  were  kept  in  the  hold,  but  one  managed 
to  throw  on  to  the  wharf  a  scrap  of  paper,  wrapped 
round  a  coin,  begging  the  finder  to  take  the  message 
to  any  English  engineers.  The  finder,  luckily,  did 
so.  He  took  it  on  board  the  ship  next  astern,  a  Blue 
Funnel — I  think  the  old  Priam.  The  engineers  read  the 
paper,  and  tried  to  board  the  Leo  XIII,  but  were  thrown 
out.  They  then  went  to  Mr.  Jackson  Millar,  Superin- 
tendent Engineer  of  Tanjong  Pagar,  who  took  them  to 
the  then  Harbour  Master,  Captain  Ellis,  good  old  Barney 
Ellis.  He  and  they  went  to  the  Supreme  Court,  where 
the  Chief  Justice  was  sitting,  who  issued  a  writ  of 
Habeas  Corpus  calling  on  the  captain  of  the  ship  to 
produce  these  men.  A  police  officer — I  think  Inspector 
Jennings — took  this  down  to  the  ship,  also  a  document, 
which  he  posted  on  the  mast,  forbidding  her  to  leave 
port.  He  was  also  thrown  down  the  gangway,  and 
the  notice  torn  off  the  mast  was  thrown  after  him. 


Directly  after  this  the  captain  came  up  to  town  to  see 
the  Spanish  Consul,  but  passed  him  on  his  way  down 
to  the  ship.  On  reaching  the  ship  the  Consul  told  the 
chief  officer  to  clear  out  at  once,  captain  or  no  captain, 
which  he  did.  As  the  ship  cast  off  and  steamed  away, 
the  Consul  watched  from  the  wharf,  where  he  was 
joined  by  the  captain,  who  had  followed  him  down. 
They  started  a  row  between  themselves,  when  Inspector 
Jennings,  with  fifty  armed  Sikh  police,  arrived  and  joined 
in.  The  captain  was  put  into  the  gharry  and  escorted 
to  the  Central  Police  Station  by  the  Sikh  guard.  The 
Consul,   of  course,   was  immune  from  arrest. 

"  There  was  wild  excitement  in  the  town  that  night. 
Engineers  went  to  the  different  lawyers'  offices,  and 
finding  them  closed,  cruised  around  all  night  long, 
knocking  up  peaceable  people  in  Tanglin  and  elsewhere 
enquiring  where  the  lawyers  lived.  There  were  several 
gharry  loads  of  these  searchers  after  legal  assistance, 
and  they  engaged  all  the  lawyers  they  could  find — 
in  their  sarongs  and  pyjamas — to  come  to  the  Supreme 
Court  next  day.  On  the  new^s  being  telegraphed  to 
Penang  the  engineers  there  gathered  up  the  only  three 
lawyers  they  could  find,  and  carried  them  down  and 
saw  them  safely  shipped  off  to  Singapore  in  the  old 
Phya  Pekhet. 

"  The  next  day  the  captain  was  tried  for  contempt 
of  court,  and  sentenced  to  '  twelve  months  imprisonment, 
or  until  he  should  purge  his  contempt  by  producing 
the  bodies  of  these  men.' 

"  There  was  no  man-of-war  in  harbour,  but  the  Gov- 
ernor cabled  to  Hongkong,  where  the  Admiral  sent  the 
cruiser  Pegasus  across  to  Manila.  The}^  sent  a  boat's 
crew  on  board,  and  duly  got  the  prisoners.  The  local 
engineers  saw  the  need  of  some  bond  of  union,  and  so 
was  formed  the  Engineers'  Association.  The  first 
office-bearers  were  Mr.  Jackson  Millar,  President ;  Mr. 
J.J.  Macbean,  Vice-President ;  Mr.  R.  Allan,  Treasurer ; 
Mr.  Robert  Park,  Secretary;  with  147  members  on  the 
first  roll-call.  The  club-rooms  were  in  the  rooms  over 
No.   I   High  Street." 

The  object  of  the  Association  as  per  Rule  i  was  : 
**  That  the  Association  be  established  to  watch  over 


and  guard  the  interests,  promote  and  further  the  welfare, 
elevate  and  improve  the  condition  of  all  connected  there- 
with by  the  diffusion  of  sound  practical  knowledge, 
the  fostering  and  promoting  of  a  fraternal  sympathy, 
and  the  discussion  of  reliable  principles  affecting 
our  mutual  good  ;  to  use  our  best  influence  to  get  the 
Marine  Board  Laws  carried  out  in  their  integrity  for 
the  public  safety.  Also  to  give  steamship  owners 
greater  facilities  for  obtaining  sea-going  engineers 
of   undoubted    practical    experience    and    ability." 

The  first  meetings  of  the  Association  "were  held  at 
the  quarters  of  the  engineers  of  the  Ice  Works,  No.  i 
River  Valley  Road;  then  rooms  were  rented  at  No.  i 
High  Street,  a  reading-room,  billiard-room,  and  bar 
being  provided,  the  first  President  of  the  Association 
being  Mr.  Jackson  Millar  (of  Messrs.  Rile^^,  Hargreaves, 
Ltd.),  now  Dean  of  Guild  of  Glasgow  Corporation;  Mr. 
John  Macbean  (Howarth,  Erskine)  was  Vice-President 
and  Mr.  Robert  Park  (Lloyd's  Surveyor)  Hon.  Secretary; 
Robert  Allan  (Riley,  Hargreaves,  Ltd.),  Treasurer. 

The  rooms  in  High  Street  were  opened  on  the  2nd 
March  1882,  and  were  in  continuous  use  until  the  forma- 
tion of  the  Marine  Club,  when  the  engineers  joined  with 
the  deck  officers  in  forming  a  social  club,  but  each 
body  still  retaining  its  professional  association  as 
a  separate  body.  The  Marine  Club  secured  the  top 
floor  of  the  Dispensary  Building,  then  newly  erected 
on  the  site  of  the  present  Chartered  Bank.  The  new 
premises  were  comfortable  and  convenient,  and  were 
occupied  by  the  Marine  Club  until  1901,  when  they 
moved  to  the  top  floor  of  No.  3  Malacca  Street.  Through 
various  causes  the  Marine  Club  went  into  voluntary 
liquidation  in  April  1905. 

The  Engineers'  Association  then  secured  the  rooms 
in  the  Dispensary  Building  at  Raffles  Place,  and  occupied 
them  until  forced  to  leave  owing  to  the  demolition  of 
the  building  to  make  way  for  the  new  Chartered  Bank 
buildings.  They  then  went  to  the  rooms  at  present 
occupied   on  the  top  floor  of  the  French   Bank.     On 


taking  these  rooms  the  Association  became  incorporated 
on  the  27th  July  1914. 

During  its  existence  the  Association  has  always  worked 
for  the  maintenance  and  improvement  of  the  status 
of  its  members.  Unfortunately  at  times  it  has  been 
in  conflict  with  the  shipowners  over  the  questions  of 
remuneration,  this  largely  through  the  decline  in  the 
sterling  value  of  the  dollar  and  the  increased  cost 
of  living.  At  times,  too,  they  have  been  forced  to 
approach  the  Government  re  manning  of  ships  and  ships' 
measurement,  the  s.y.  Sea  Belle  being  one  case,  the 
Government  reducing  the  measurement  of  this  ship 
from  500  tons  to  50  tons,  allowing  her  to  sail  with  a 
native  master  and  gunner,  instead  of  a  European  master 
and  mate,  and  also  allowing  her  to  sail  with  a  chief  en- 
gineer and  driver  instead  of  chief  and  second  engineers 
as  before. 

The  Merchant  Service  Guild 

The  first  Association  of  Mercantile  Officers  was  formed 
in  1 880,  and  had  its  club-room  in  Queen  Street.  Among 
the  members  were  Captain  Ross,  Captain  Daly,  Captain 
Fripp,  and  Captain  Moss.  This  lasted  about  three 
years.  In  October  1889  the  Masters  and  Mates' 
Association  was  formed,  and  Captain  J.  Craig  was  one 
of  its  first  presidents.  This  Association  had  a  room  in 
the  Marine  Club  (founded  in  1891),  where  the  Chartered 
Bank  now  is,  and  did  much  good  work.  It  considered 
the  new  Merchant  Shipping  Bill  (1897),  ^nd  sent  into 
Government  a  useful  Memorandum,  one  of  the  chief 
points  being  that  local  ships  should  be  properly  officered 
in  order  to  lessen  the  danger  to  all  shipping.  It  formed 
one  of  the  negotiating  parties  in  a  strike  for  higher 
wages  in  1902,  and,  at  all  events,  gave  the  shipowners 
a  responsible  body  to  negotiate  with. 

Some  years  later,  when  the  Association  died  out, 
the  balance  of  funds  was  handed  over  to  the  South 
African  War  Funds.  There  followed  a  period  of  partial 
organisation,  a  branch  of  the  Imperial  Merchant  Service 
Guild  being  established  here.     The  present  Merchant 


Service  Guild,  which  has  still  the  support  of  many 
of  the  members  of  the  former  associations,  was  formed 
in  191 2,  having  its  first  rooms  in  Coleman  Street.  It  is 
now  a  strong  association,  with  150  members.  Mr. 
Walter  Makepeace  was  Hon.  Treasurer  of  the  1 890  Guild, 
and  still  is  of  the  existing  Guild. 

In  1892  the  Society  became  the  Masters  and  Mates' 
Association  of  the  Straits  Settlements,  the  office-bearers 
being:  President,  J.  Craig;  Vice-President,  J.  Gray; 
Committee :  Messrs.  Daly,  Dunlop,  Sutherland,  Fawcus, 
Cornwell,  Kunath,  Kempton,  and  Dunmall ;  Hon.  Sec- 
retary and  Treasurer,  W.  Makepeace.  In  1894  the 
name  became  the  Mercantile  Marine  Officers'  Association 
of  the  Straits  Settlements. 

Miscellaneous  Associations 

Among  the  clubs  which  have  permanently  passed 
over,  the  Singapore  Debating  Society  was  an  important 
one,  and  existed  from  about  1876  to  1896,  when  it  was 
wound  up  on  the  nth  August.  The  Society  numbered 
among  its  members  many  well-known  names ;  Members 
of  the  Legislative  Council  and  bishops-to-be  attended 
its  meetings.  Messrs.  J.  D.  Vaughan,  Buckley,  Knight, 
Shelf ord,  Newton,  and  Galloway  all  took  a  keen  interest 
in  the  debates,  which  sometimes  took  the  form  of  a 
parliamentary  debate.  The  Society  met  for  many  years 
in  the  Masonic  Hall. 

The  Singapore  Cycling  Club  also  died  in  1896,  ex- 
pending the  balance  of  its  funds  in  providing  prizes 
for  a  twenty-mile  road  race.  It  had  been  formed  in 
1890  with  twenty-three  members,  of  whom  only  two, 
W.  Makepeace  and  D.  J.  Galloway,  are  now  in  Singapore. 
R.  Scoular  and  E.  Wallace  were  secretaries.  It  pro- 
moted a  good  many  road  races,  and  secured  a  place 
for  a  bicycle  race  in  the  S.C.C.  Athletic  Sports  of  1891. 

In  1874  the  Young  Men's  Cricket  Club  played  on 
the  Esplanade,  J.  C.  Mitchell  being  the  Secretary.  This 
appears  to  have  been  associated  with  the  Young  Neptune 
Boat  Club,  which  was  established  in  1870. 


The  Strangers'  Friend  Society  in  1 873  had  for  treasurer 
and  almoner  Major  S.  Dunlop,  acting  for  him  Mr.  R.  W. 

The  Swimming  Club 

The  Swimming  Club  dates  back  to  1893,  being  formed 
on  the  14th  November.  The  first  bungalow  was  rented  on 
the  sea-shore  near  Sandy  Point,  but  the  encroachment 
of  the  sea  caused  that  to  be  abandoned.  In  February 
1894  the  Club  raised  debentures  and  bought  its  present 
property,  building  the  present  Club  House,  and  later 
the  protecting  walls,  the  concrete  pier,  and  the  diving 
stage.  The  Club  rapidly  grew  in  popularity  and  sports- 
manship. P.  H.  Upton,  who  left  in  1901  for  Adelaide, 
was  a  valued  captain  for  some  years.  Many  old 
members  have  given  cups  and  trophies  for  races,  and 
the  old  S.V.A.  swimming  shield  used  to  be  raced  for 
under  the  Club  management.  G.  Wald,  who  lost  his 
life  in  the  Mutiny,  was  another  strong  supporter  of 
racing,  and  Mr.  W.  A.  Sims  for  years  had  charge  of  the 
onerous  duties  of  Honorary  Treasurer,  and  was  for  several 
years  President.  The  Swimming  Club  has  always 
been  attractive  to  the  young  men  of  all  nationalities, 
as  well  as  to  the  seniors,  who  like  to  spend  a  quiet  Sunday 
by  the  sea-side.  Their  regattas  include  one  in  the 
Empire  Dock  just  as  it  was  being  completed,  and  since 
the  War  a  couple  have  been  held  for  charitable  purposes. 

Singapore  Yacht  Clubs 

A  Singapore  Yacht  Club  was  established  at  the  time 
the  first  New  Year  Sports  were  held,  1834.  Mr.  W.  H. 
Read  was  Commodore  in  1867.  It  was  revived  in  1881, 
and  the  writer  has  a  recollection  that,  some  ten  years 
later,  Mr.  J.  P.  Joaquim,  who  was  a  surviving  member, 
said  something  like  $4,000  was  to  the  credit  of  the  Club 
in  one  of  the  banks.  The  unearned  increment  !  In 
this  (Centenary)  year  a  third  yacht  club  has  just  been 
started  that  looks  as  if  it  may  achieve  permanent 


Photographic  Society 

The  Straits  Photographic  Society  was  founded  in 
1889,  Mr.  D.  C.  Neave  being  instrumental  in  its  forma- 
tion. Dr.  Murray  Robertson  was  the  second  President. 
The  Society  carried  on  successfully  for  some  years,  among 
those  closely  associated  with  it  being  the  late  Mr.  E.  J. 
Robertson  and  Mr.  George  Brinkworth.  It  provided  a 
dark-room  for  members,  one  being  in  Hill  Street,  and 
held  many  successful  exhibitions.  The  exhibition  in 
July  1894  reached  a  high  level  of  work,  there  being 
twenty-two  exhibitors,  including  Messrs.  F.  M.  Elhot,  J. 
B.  Elcum,  H.  A.  Crane,  W.  N.  Dow,  G.  M.  Dare,  G.  Brink- 
worth,  E.  J.  Robertson,  and  A.  W.  Bean,  this  last-named 
being  Singapore's  amateur  photographer  par  excellence. 




The  first  "  Sport "  Club  in  Singapore  was  the  Billiard 
Club,  formed  at  the  instance  of  Mr.  E.  Boustead  on  the 
1st  October  1829,  the  admission  fee  being  $50  and  the 
subscription  $4.  No  smoking  was  allowed  in  the 
billiard- room,  which  was  to  be  open  from  6  a.m.  to 
10  p.m.  Members  not  attending  a  meeting  were  to  be 
fined  $2.  At  the  end  of  1829  the  subscription  was 
raised  to  $6,  and  Mr.  W.  R.  George  was  elected  Secretary. 
Nothing  is  known  of  what  happened  to  the  Club  after 

Fives  appears  to  have  been  the  next  game,  1836,  the 
court  being  where  the  Government  Buildings  now  stand, 
and  at  that  time  play  began  at  6  a.m.,  taking  the  place 
of  the  early  morning  walk.  As  late  as  1 866  there  used 
to  be  a  dozen  players  or  more  in  the  court  in  the  after- 
noon, apparently  feeling  still  the  obligation  they  owed 
to  Dr.  Montgomerie,  to  whom  the  fives  players  gave  a 
dinner  in  1836,  "in  testimony  of  the  obligation  they 
owed  him  for  the  introduction  of  such  a  wholesome  and 
exciting  sport."  The  second  fives  court  was  built  in 
Armenian  Street,  and  was  not  pulled  down  till  1886,  to 
make  way  for  St.  Andrew's  House.  The  Club  survived 
in  1874,  L.  J.  R.  Glass  being  Secretary  and  Treasurer. 

Racing  was  started  in  1843  by  the  establishment  of 
the  Sporting  Club  on  the  4th  October  1842,  and  a  two 
days'  meeting  was  held  on  the  23rd  and  25th  February. 
The  first  race  was  at  1 1  a.m.,  being  the  Singapore  Cup, 
valued  $1 50,  and  Mr.  W.  H.  Read  rode  the  winner.     The 



races  were  held  on  the  same  course  as  now,  but  the  stand 
was  on  the  Serangoon  Road  side.  A  race  ball  followed 
on  the  succeeding  Monday,  at  the  residence  of  the; 
Recorder,  and  the  advertisement  in  the  Free  Press 
especially  mentions  "  Full  Dress." 

In  the  same  year,  March  1843,  there  was  a  regatta, 
with  an  entry  of  ten  yachts,  an  account  of  it  being  given 
in  Admiral  Keppel's  book. 

Cricket  was  apparently  played  before  this,  for  there 
is  mention  in  1837  of  objection  to  some  Europeans  who 
played  the  game  on  the  Esplanade  on  Sunday.  It  fell 
then  into  abeyance,  for  in  1843  it  is  recorded  :  "  We 
have  lately  been  much  gratified  by  seeing  the  manly 
game  of  cricket  resumed  in  this  Settlement,"  a  match 
being  played  between  Singaporeans  and  the  Dido. 
Towards  the  end  of  1852  a  meeting  was  held  to  establish 
the  Singapore  Cricket  Club.  A  Young  Men's  Cricket 
Club  on  the  Esplanade  in  1 87 1  was  no  doubt  the  precursor 
of  the  Singapore  Recreation  Club. 

The  New  Year's  Regatta,  the  precursor  of  our  New  Year 
Sports,  was  first  held  in  1834.  The  paper  for  1837  con- 
tained a  long  account  of  that  year's  events.  In  1839 
there  were  both  shore  and  water  sports,  which  Buckley 
says  did  not  differ  much  from  those  of  the  present  day — 
''  except  that  it  was  then  a  day  set  apart  by  the  mercan- 
tile community  to  amuse  the  natives  only  " — which  is 
surely  their  purpose  to  this  day. 

Lawn  tennis  is  so  modern  a  game  that  it  is  not  even 
mentioned  in  Buckley,  the  same  silence  befalling  foot- 

Swimming  is  first  mentioned  in  1866,  when  Mr.  W.  R. 
Scott  allowed  the  use  of  his  fresh-water  bath  at  Abbots- 
ford  to  certain  subscribers.  A  staked  bathing-place 
lasted  for  a  year  or  two  in  the  'Sixties  on  a  sand  bank  on 
the  beach  at  Tanjong  Katong,  Mr.  Charles  Crane  being 
the  working  member  to  carry  out  the  wishes  of  subscribers 
at  a  meeting  held  to  further  the  object  in  that  year. 

There  was  a  gynmastic  club  in  Scott's  Road  in  the 
'Sixties,    Mr.    T.    S.    Thomson    being    Secretary    and 


Treasurer,  and  as  the  Tanglin  Club  was  established  in 
1865,  in  Stevens  Road,  no  doubt  there  was  a  bowling 
alley  attached  to  it  then. 

Here  is  a  review  taken  from  a  newspaper  in  1885, 
which  gives  an  idea  of  the  attitude  of  the  clubs  then  as 
compared  with  the  past : 

"  In  social  matters  a  perfect  revolution  has  been 
effected.  Where  formerly  a  miniature  tent  and  a  small 
boy  stood  on  the  Esplanade  ready  to  accommodate  any 
adventurous  cricketer,  there  is  now  a  neat  pavilion, 
already  far  too  small,  and  practically  the  whole  European 
community  present,  eager  each  evening  to  indulge  in 
whatever  may  be  the  favourite  sport.  The  Eurasian 
community  have  followed  suit  on  the  east  side  of  the 
Esplanade  ;  and  so  have  the  Chinese  on  Hong  Lim's 
Green,  where  they  may  be  seen  playing  cricket  and  lawn 
tennis  in  the  evening  ;  and  a  pavilion  is  just  rising  from 
the  ground  for  their  club.  Last,  but  certainly  not  least, 
the  fair  sex  make  the  old  Dhoby  Green,  in  Orchard 
Road,  into  an  arena  for  a  scientific  display  of  lawn  tennis, 
which  attracts  not  only  many  players  but  sympathetic 
admirers  as  well.  On  the  other  hand,  the  fives  court, 
which  used  to  be  the  evening  haunt  of  many  choice 
spirits,  is  never  opened.  In  its  place  we  find  the  Rowing 
Club,  whilst  a  polo  club  has  just  been  started  with  every 
prospect  of  success.  The  Racing  Club  is  still  to  the  fore, 
but  its  calibre  has  not  improved  since  the  days  of 
'  Sydney,'  '  Toxophilite  '  and  '  Cavanagh.'  The 
Town  Club,  however,  has  greatly  changed  for  the  better. 
Formerly  commenced  in  one  of  the  old  houses  on  the 
beach,  it  was  moved  from  one  small  upstairs  room  in  the 
Square  to  another,  and  has  now  a  large  handsome  build- 
ing close  to  Johnston's  Pier  ;  its  members,  which  were 
few  and  almost  exclusively  commercial,  are  now  large, 
and  its  constitution  quite  cosmopolitan. 

"  On  the  other  hand,  the  happy  family  of  the  past 
has  followed  the  tendency  of  the  age  and  broken  up 
into  cliques,  who  have  few  social  pursuits  in  common 
outside  the  limits  of  their  club  grounds  and  premises. 
Not  many  years  ago  everybody  was  acquainted  with 
all  the  other  residents,  and  what  concerned  one  con- 
cerned all,  whether  for  weal  or  woe.     Things  now  move 



H.  322 


a  great  deal  too  fast,  and  the  race  for  livelihood  is  too 
keen  for  busy  men  to  find  time  to  acquire  an  intimate 
knowledge  of  their  many  neighbours  and  take  an  interest 
in  their  affairs.  A  few  formal  dinners  during  the  year 
for  civility's  sake  disposes  of  all  that  is  considered  due 
to  Society,  the  rest  of  the  time  being  devoted  to  a  small 
knot  of  intimates,  who  alone  are  known  and  cared  for, 
and  who  form  one  of  the  little  worlds  revolving  round 
the  sun  of  Government  House. 

"  Increase  of  Europeans  and  daily  dependence  on  the 
telegraph  lines  have,  therefore,  in  this  respect,  brought 
about  the  reverse  of  improvement.  Kindly  actions, 
friendly  deeds,  and  charitable  thoughts  become  gradually 
less  year  by  year,  whilst  the  little  worlds  in  their  ill- 
governed  circuits  of  revolution  collide  and  give  out 
showers  of  mud  and  squibs,  instead  of  friendly  streams 
of  light." 

Towards  the  end  of  1 852  a  meeting  was  called  to  estab- 
lish a  Cricket  Club.  Tradition — well-founded — has  it 
that  the  cricketers  used  to  keep  their  gear  in  a  part  of 
the  Masonic  Hall,  then  at  the  corner  of  Coleman  Street, 
and  there  was  no  bar.  Later  a  tent  used  to  be  pitched 
for  the  players  and  a  tamby  dispensed  refreshments 
obtained  from  the  hotel.  A  pavilion  was  next  built 
under  the  big  trees  at  the  western  corner  of  the  Esplanade, 
and  remained  there  till  towards  the  end  of  the  'Seventies. 
The  next  was  built  in  the  middle  of  the  end  of  the  ground, 
and  was  in  existence  from  1877  to  1884.  The  third  was 
built  on  the  present  site,  but  occupied  very  much  less 
space.  Finally  the  present  pavilion  was  built,  using  the 
centre  block  of  the  old  building  and  being  opened  in 
1907.  The  cost  was  $48,415,  and  many  members  con- 
tributed to  the  furnishing  of  the  building.  What  was 
the  early  membership  of  the  S.C.C.  is  not  to  be  found, 
but  by  1 89 1  there  were  378  members,  increased  to  518 
by  1 90 1,  762  in  191 1,  and  reaching  the  highest  point  in 
the  year  war  broke  out,  878. 

According  to  the  1861  Directory,  the  Singapore  Cricket 
Club  was  established  in  1859,  and  the  membership  given 
in  the  Directory  comprised  twenty-eight  names,  given 


in  full,  with  George  Armstrong  as  Secretary.  This  is  the 
George  Armstrong  mentioned  in  Buckley,  who  died  in 
Manila  in  1901.  Among  the  well-remembered  members 
in  1 861  were  C.  E.  Crane,  James  Lyall,  J.  M.  Purvis,  and 
Sam  Gilfillan.  In  1864  W.  Allen  was  Secretary  and 
Treasurer;  in  1866  Thos.  O.  Wright,  who,  according 
to  the  early  Colonial  records,  applied  to  Government  for 
permission  to  relay  a  portion  of  the  cricket  ground. 
In  1868  E.  B.  Souper,  an  accountant  in  the  Chartered 
Bank,  was  Secretary  and  Treasurer,  and  he  applied  to 
Government  for  permission  to  build  a  pavilion,  but  it  was 
not  erected  till  1877.  No  list  of  Committee  is  given. 
In  1875  R.  G.  Stiven  was  Secretary,  and  enthusiastic 
members  carried  on  the  honorary  duties  of  the  office 
throughout  the  early  history  of  the  Club.  The  Govern- 
ment letter  stating  the  terms  on  which  the  Club  is  allowed 
to  use  Raffles  Plain  is  dated  the  9th  March  1891. 

In  the  past  forty  years  the  Club  has  held  a  high 
position  among  the  young  men,  and  among  its  officers 
are  to  be  found  the  names  of  those  who  became  in  other 
ways  famous  such  as,  John  Anderson,  E.  W.  Birch, 
C.  Stringer,  and  E.  M.  Merewether,  but  the  record  for 
service  is  surely  held  by  Mr.  G.  P.  Owen,  who  joined  the 
Committee  in  1880,  when.  Mr.  John  Anderson  was 
President,  and  has  held  the  post  of  Honorary  Secretary 
or  Secretary  ever  since  1886,  save  for  brief  intervals  of 
leave,  when  Mr.  C.  J.  Davies,  J.  M.  Fabris,  and  F.  Deason 
acted  for  him. 

The  Club  has  been  first  of  all  for  cricket ;  but  other 
branches  of  sport  were  brought  in,  such  as  Association 
football  in  the  late  'Eighties,  hockey  in  1893,  l^wn  bowls, 
and,  first  of  all,  lawn  tennis.  Athletic  sports  were 
vigorously  encouraged,  though  not  held  regularly.  In 
1 89 1  C.  H.  Lightfoot  was  the  champion  athlete  with 
forty  points,  in  1893  Allen  Dennys  with  twenty-six, 
his  brother  Freddy  running  him  close  with  twenty-four 
points.  F.  O.  B.  Dennys  came  on  in  later  years,  being 
champion  in  1895  with  thirty-seven  points,  H.  A.  E. 
Thomson  second  with  twenty-nine  points  ;  but  Freddy's 


best  year  was  1 896,  when  he  won  the  hundred  yards,  the 
hurdles,  the  1 50  yards,  220  yards,  and  the  broad  jump — 
fifty-one  points.  Interest  fell  off  in  athletics  from  then, 
and  though  good  paper  entries  were  secured,  the  starter 
found  few  under  his  pistol  on  the  day.  Athletic 
gymkhanas  were  held  in  1908  (R.  L.  Cuscaden  winning 
the  Championship  Cup)  and  in  191 3,  when  the  best 
men  were  L.  G.  Byatt  and  R.  G.  Pash. 

Having  taken  a  general  view  of  the  establishment  of 
sports  and  games  in  Singapore,  we  now  turn  to  the 
individual  games  and  the  clubs  associated  with  them. 


The  Esplanade  and  cricket  have  always  been  associ- 
ated, the  ground  being  shared  by  the  S.C.C.  and  S.R.C. 
It  must  be  remembered,  however,  that  the  old  Esplanade 
was  but  half  as  wide  as  the  present.  According  to 
Coleman's  map  of  1835,  the  widest  part  between  the 
roads  was  less  than  80  yards,  and  in  the  'Eighties  Sir 
Stamford  Raffles 's  Statue  stood  nearly  on  the  edge  of 
the  sea — it  was  placed  there  on  the  27th  June  1887,  and 
the  new  ground  took  a  lot  of  preparation  before  it  was 
fit  to  be  played  on.  In  1 890  it  is  recorded  that  the  S.C.C. 
decided  to  have  two  lawn  tennis  tournaments  a  year 
'*  now  that  the  Esplanade  has  been  enlarged." 

The  first  recorded  cricket  match  was  played  on  the 
14th  October  1852,  under  the  title  of  "  A  Picked  Eleven 
against  the  Club."  There  were  six  on  one  side  and  nine 
on  the  other.  The  picked  lot  made  1 1  in  the  first 
innings  and  i  in  the  second  ;  and  the  Club,  making  14 
and  12,  won  easily.  The  second  match  was  played  a 
week  later,  under  the  title  of  '*  A  Scratch  Match  between 
Sixteen  Gentlemen."  There  were  eight  on  each  side, 
and  the  totals  were  more  respectable.  One  side  made 
52  and  18,  and  the  other  49  and  53.  Lieutenant  J.  W. 
Rideout  (Staff  Officer  of  the  43rd  M.N.I.)  made  37  not 
out  and  1 1 ,  and  was  the  hero  of  the  match  ;  Robert 
Harvey  (McEwen  and  Co.)  24  not  out,  did  the  best  on 
the  other  side. 


In  March  1853  the  first  eleven-a-side  match  was 
played.  The  sides  comprised  three  Armstrongs,  three 
Cranes,  John  Little,  Thomas  Scott  (Guthrie  and  Co.), 
Archie  J.  Spottiswoode  (Wm.  Spottiswoode  and  Co.), 
F.  A.  Brett  (Ensign  43rd  M.N. I.),  Robert  Harvey 
(McEwen  and  Co.),  Robert  Jardine  (Syme  and  Co.), 
James  Watson  (Guthrie  and  Co.),  R.  B.  Read,  H.  W. 
Wood  (Syme  and  Co.),  F.  W.  Dobree  (Ensign  43rd 
M.N. I.),  C.  H.  Wilsone,  J.  Sparkes  (P.  and  O.  Company), 
Lieutenant  Rideout,  and  J.  M.  Purvis  (John  Purvis 
and  Son). 

No  further  matches  are  recorded  in  the  score  book 
till  June  i860,  when  the  Club  played  a  match  against 
the  Garrison,  consisting  of  the  40th  Madras  Native 
Infantry  and  the  nth  Punjaub  Infantry.  The  Club 
won  by  76  runs,  their  top  scorers  being  :  D.  Paterson 
(Middleton,  Harrison  and  Co.)  26,  J.  Murray  (Syme  and 
Co.)  25,  J.  S.  G.  Jellicoe  (P.  and  O.  Company)  15,  and 
J.  W.  Armstrong  (George  Armstrong  and  Co.)  15  runs. 

In  September  1863  the  Club  played  a  team  from 
H.M.S.  Severn,  a  frigate,  and  beat  them  by  78  runs  : 
J.  Murray  24,  T.  S.  Thomson  (John  Purvis  and  Son)  17, 
C.  Crane  (Stelling,  Hooglandt  and  Co.)  17,  and  Sherwood 
(Chartered  Bank)   15. 

In  April  1865  a  hundred  runs  were  made  for  the  first 
time  as  the  total  of  one  innings  The  occasion  was  a 
match  between  the  Royal  Artillery  and  the  Singapore 
Cricket  Club.  The  former  scored  88  and  72  and  the 
latter  1 10  and  47,  an  exciting  match  ending  in  favour 
of  the  Artillery  by  three  runs.  The  top  scorers  for 
the  S.C.C.  were  L.  J.  R.  Glass  29  and  10,  and  James 
Greig  2 1  and  2 . 

In  April  1867  the  Club  played  a  match  against  the 
Army  and  Navy,  the  ships  in  harbour  being  H.M.S. 
Wasp,  a  sloop,  and  H.M.S.  Satellite,  a  corvette.  The 
S.C.C.  scored  238  in  their  first  innings,  L.  R.  Glass 
going  in  first  and  carrying  his  bat  for  the  magnificent 
score  of  118  not  out,  A.  D.  Forbes  36,  E.  J.  Smith  10, 
and  C.  B.  Buckley  (A.  L.  Johnston  and  Co.)  12.    The 




match  was  not  finished  owing  to  the  two  ships  leaving 
the  port.  Glass's  118  was  the  first  time  the  50  mark 
was  passed,  and  the  century  was  not  again  reached  till 
1 87 1,  when  E.  H.  Watts,  Civil  Service,  made  1 1 1  against 
the  loth  Regiment,  and  1885,  E.  W.  Birch  131  against 
the  R.A. 

Cricket  was  in  its  hey-day  in  the  'Nineties.  Big 
matches  were  arranged  against  the  Native  States 
and  the  neighbouring  colonies  of  Hongkong,  Ceylon, 
and  Shanghai.  In  January  1890  the  S.C.C.  sent  a  team 
up  to  Hongkong,  which  suffered  defeat  at  the  hands 
of  both  Hongkong  and  Shanghai.  The  following  year, 
at  Singapore,  the  Straits  had  their  revenge  against 
Hongkong,  beating  that  team  as  well  as  Colombo, 
and  Colombo  beating  Hongkong,  while  the  Straits 
drew  against  a  combined  team  of  Hongkong  and  Colombo, 
a  similar  result  following  in  the  match  Ceylon  v.  Native 
States.  The  cricket  lasted  a  fortnight  in  this  year. 
Mr.  G.  P.  Owen,  who  had  been  Secretary  of  the  Club 
and  had  arranged  these  matches,  was  given  a  complimen- 
tary dinner  when  going  on  leave  in  1893. 

Among  the  records  of  the  Club  is  a  list  of  averages 
from  1868,  in  the  handwriting  of  Sir  Ernest  Birch. 
It  shows  that  L.  R.  Glass  headed  the  averages  in  1868, 
1 869,  and  1 870,  R.  W.  Maxwell  (Police)  and  A.  M.  Skinner 
(Colonial  Secretary)  coming  next.  F.  A.  Swettenham 
was  second  in  1871  and  first  in  1872.  E.  W.  Birch 
appears  in  the  first  three  in  1880  and  1881,  and  among 
others  are  the  names  of  Dr.  T.  C.  Mugliston  (Colonial 
Surgeon),  P.  T.  Evatt  .(later  of  Lyall  and  Evatt),  and 
E.  M.  Merewether.  Between  1878  and  1887  Birch 
played  133  innings,  ten  times  not  out,  made  2,741  runs, 
a;nd  bowling  i, 020*3  overs  secured  288  wickets  at  the 
cost  of  8*2  runs  per  wicket. 

It  was  perhaps  due  to  an  exhibition  given  on  the 
Esplanade  on  the  25th  February  1882  by  Lord  Harris, 
Lord  Zouche,  and  Mr.Tufnell  that  the  revival  was  due. 
In  that  year  a  purse  was  presented  to  Mr.  C.  Stringer  in 
appreciation  of  his  services  as  Hon.  Secretary  to  the 
II — 22 


S.C.C.,  and  on  the  occasion  of  his  wedding  to  Miss 
McNair.  The  Perak  cricket  team  came  down  at 
Christmas  1889,  and  early  in  the  next  year  the  Straits 
team  left  on  a  visit  to  Hongkong.  At  the  end  of  the 
year  the  inter-Colonial  cricket  matches  were  started, 
Hongkong  and  Colombo  both  coming  here,  and  the  game 
reigned  supreme  for  a  fortnight.  In  October  1892  the 
P.  and  O.  Bokhara  was  lost  on  its  way  back  to  Hongkong 
with  the  Hongkong  cricket  team  that  had  gone  up  to 
Shanghai  to  play  that  Settlement.  In  the  following 
October  (1893)  the  Straits  visited  Ceylon,  and  the  match 
at  Christmas  was  versus  Penang.  August  1895  saw  the 
S.C.C.  visiting  Batavia,  and  in  October  1897  ^  Straits 
team  went  to  Hongkong,  and  had  the  satisfaction  of 
beating  both  Hongkong  and  Shanghai,  and  also  a  com- 
bined team  of  the  two  by  an  innings  and  231  runs.  The 
S.C.C.  cricket  tournaments  were  instituted  in  1898, 
and  did  much  to  improve  the  game.  The  shield  given 
by  a  member  was  first  won  by  the  S.V.A.,  skippered  by 
Captain  W.  G.  St.  Clair.  It  was  in  one  of  these  matches, 
in  1907,  that  R.  T.  Reid  (Paterson,  Simons)  put  up 
the  record  score  of  234  not  out  for  the  Merchants  against 
the  Garrison.  Perak  and  Penang  came  down  to  Singa- 
pore in  1900,  the  home  team  suffering  defeat  by  two 
wickets  and  one  respectively.  Selangor  came  in 
1 90 1,  and  we  won  by  a  wicket  and  two  runs.  It  was 
in  this  match,  we  believe,  that  J.  D.  Saunders  smacked 
Lawrie  Dougal  for  eleven  in  two  hits,  off  consecutive 
balls,  much  to  the  astonishment  of  the  fast  bowler, 
this  hard  hitting  being  only  approached  by  "  Slogger  " 
Parsons  (now  a  Brigadier-General,  A.O.D.),  who  used 
to  make  a  practice  of  breaking  the  tiles  on  the  Municipal 
Offices.  1 90 1  saw  Singapore  beat  Perak  handsomely 
by  an  innings  and  123  runs.  Two  years  Selangor  was 
defeated,  both  at  cricket  and  football,  the  latter  game 
being  associated   with   visiting  teams   since    1900. 

A  point  worthy  of  note  about  this  time  was  the  fine 
cricket  played  by  H.  L.  Talbot,  who  skippered  the 
Straits  teams  for  the  Hongkong  and  Shanghai  matches. 


The  players  included  G.  P.  Stevens  (a  lawyer  in  partner- 
ship with  S.  R.  Groom),  A.  B.  Hubback  (made  a  Brigadier- 
General  during  the  War,  to  which  he  went  from,  the 
F.M.S.),  M.  H.  Whitley,  A.  J.  Woodroffe,  R.E.,  T.  R. 
Hubback,  and  J.  G.  Mactaggart,  then  in  Latham  and 
Mactaggart,  brokers.  Talbot  had  a  fine  record.  He 
won  both  batting  average  prizes  in  1892.  The  report 
for  1893  says:  "  A  new  bowler  is  wanted  if  the  Club 
is  to  return  to  its  old  form  "  ;  but  that  may  have  been  the 
reflection  of  the  announcement  that  three  centuries  had 
been  scored  in  the  season,  H.  L.  Talbot  being  responsible 
for  134  and  1 17.  Perhaps  as  a  further  result  J.  G.  Mac- 
taggart was  encouraged  as  a  bowler,  for  he  won  the 
prize  in  1895  for  getting  wickets  at  the  cost  of  6*79,  Eric 
Maxwell  coming  next  to  him  with  an  average  of  9*2. 

It  is  recorded  in  1896  that  the  Club  did  not  lose  a 
match  during  the  year,  and  in  1898  seventy  first  team 
and  thirty-nine  second  team  games  were  played. 
1902  was  another  good  year,  Singapore  playing  Shanghai, 
Perak,  Penang,  and  Selangor,  E.  Bradbery  having  the 
fine  figure  of  sixty  wickets  at  an  average  of  5*2  runs. 
The  very  next  year,  too,  we  beat  the  Negri  Sembilan 
by  an  innings  and  353,  H.  W.  Noon  making  117  and 
L.  B.  Hannaford  91.  R.  T.  Reid  had  the  fine  batting 
average  of  57*3,  as  well  as  taking  forty  wickets  at  an 
average  cost  of  8*7  runs. 

In  1903  the  Swettenham  Trophy  was  given  by  Sir 
Frank  Swettenham,  to  be  open  to  competition  by  repre- 
sentatives of  the  clubs  at  Singapore,  Penang,  Malacca, 
Perak,  Selangor,  Negri  Sembilan,  and  Pahang,  playing 
in  all  inter-State,  inter-Settlement,  or  inter-Colony  or 
State  cricket.  It  is  awarded  annually  in  December  or 
January  for  "  all-round  excellence  of  the  cricket  played 
and  the  knowledge  of  the  game  displayed  by  each 
eleven."  Singapore  scored  the  first  win,  but  Perak 
got  it  in  1906.  The  S.C.C.  have  won  it  seven  times, 
Penang  four  times,  Perak,  Selangor,  and  Negri  Sembilan 
once  each. 

In  1904  the  Straits  repeated  the  trick  at  Hongkong 


of  beating  both  Shanghai  and  Hongkong,  whilst  at 
Easter  in  the  same  year  Penang  and  Perak  visited 
Singapore  for  the  last  time,  and  were  very  severely 
defeated.  The  tables  were  reversed  when  at  Christmas 
Singapore  went  to  Penang,  also  for  the  last  time.  In 
the  game  against  Perak  at  Taiping  a  very  fine  innings 
was  played  by  Capt.  E.  I.  M.  Barrett,  at  that  time 
stationed  there  ;  he  put  up  155. 

The  only  visit  to  Burma  by  the  Straits  was  in  Decem- 
ber 1906,  the  home  team  winning  both  cricket  matches 
and  the  tennis  doubles,  Singapore  having  to  be  content 
with  the  tennis  singles.  The  only  outstanding  feature 
of  the  cricket  in  so  far  as  the  Straits  were  concerned 
was  a  useful  75  by  W.  Dunman,  who  was  first  in  and 
last  out,  also  his  last  appearance  in  a  representative 
match  for  Singapore. 

The  days  of  long  excursions  were  now  over,  and  the 
chief  matches  were  between  the  parts  of  the  Peninsula 
the  Colony  v.  the  F.M.S.  series  being  inaugurated. 
The  States  won  the  first  match  by  five  wickets.  The 
matches  were  played  annually  up  to  19 14,  and  the  records 
show  that  the  States  won  in  1905,  1906,  1907,  1908, 
1909  (twice),  1 9 10,  and  191 1.  The  Straits  won  in  1907. 
1908,  1911,  1912,  and  1914;  draws  in  1910  and  1913. 
Two  matches  were  played  in  some  years.  The  game 
played  at  Easter  191 2  in  Singapore  was  remarkable 
for  the  109  of  Dr.  Scharenguival.  In  one  over  from 
M.  K.  Foster  he  put  up  25. 

The  series  Singapore  v.  Selangor  commenced  in 
1900.  The  results  are  that  Selangor  w^on  in  1900,  1902, 
1914  ;  Singapore  secured  victories  in  1901,  1903,  1904, 
1905*  i907>  1908  (by  an  innings  and  47),  191 1,  and  191 2  ; 
not  played  in  1906  and  1909;  draws  in  1910  and  191 3. 

In  November  1909  Messrs.  Noble,  Laver,  Cotter, 
Armstrong,  and  Hopkins  returned  to  Australia  via 
Singapore,  after  the  conclusion  of  the  Australian  tour 
in  England  that  year,  and  played  two  games  on  the 
Esplanade,  much  to  the  interest  of  the  cricketing 


Next  year  the  Colony  could  only  make  a  draw  with 
the  F.M.S.,  in  favour  of  the  latter.  Although  the  Colony 
versus  F.M.S.  matches  were  looked  upon  as  of  more 
importance,  Singapore  continued  to  play  odd  games 
with  Selangor,  Negri  Sembilan,  and  Malacca,  that  in 
August  191 2,  at  Kuala  Lumpur,  being  notable  for  an 
innings  of  98  by  A.  Jenkins,  while  the  game  in  Singapore 
in  August  191 3  was  remarkable  for  an  innings  of  126 
not  out  by  R.  L.  L.  Braddell.  His  innings  materially 
affected  the  game,  as  overnight  Singapore  had  lost 
six  wickets  for  70  runs,  while  the  innings  eventually 
closed  next  day  for  295. 

In  the  later  years  A.  Jenkins,  191 1 -12,  stands  out 
as  a  sound  bat.  He  won  the  average  prize  in  both 
years,  sixteen  innings  with  an  average  of  45*3,  and 
next  season  average  48,  his  highest  score  being  150. 
In  1 91 4  four  centuries  were  made,  R.  E.  H.  Oliver 
being  responsible  for  two  of  them,  R.  L.  L.  Braddell 
and  J.  A.  Scharenguival  for  the  other  two. 

Another  trophy,  known  as  the  Paget  Cup,  was  pre- 
sented in  1909  by  Sir  Ralph  Paget,  British  Minister 
in  Bangkok,  for  competition  between  the  Straits  and 
Siam.  Owing  to  the  difficulty  of  travel  only  two  games 
have  been  played.  That  in  January  1909,  in  Singapore, 
was  won  by  Siam  by  39,  while  the  return  at  Bangkok, 
in  December  191 3,  resulted  in  an  easy  win  for  the  Straits. 

Lawn  Tennis 

The  S.C.C.  Lawn  Tennis  Championship  was  established 
in  1875,  and  in  1880  E.  W.  Birch  wrested  it  from  J.  R. 
d 'Almeida,  the  holder.  The  two  tournaments  a  year 
date  from  the  widening  of  the  Esplanade  (1890),  and 
a  list  of  the  winners  from  1884  shows  that  G.  P.  Owen 
won  it  at  the  Spring  Tournament  that  year,  and  eight 
times  subsequently  up  to  as  late  as  1893.  R-  W. 
Braddell  won  it  three  times  in  1884-5,  and  then  again 
five  times  between  1894  and  1898.  A.  H.  Capper  (Civil 
Service),  a  wearisome  but  accurate  lobber,  won  it  four 
times.      Captain  Ainslie    has  four   wins  to  his  credit, 


1895-7,  sharing  honours  in  those  years  with  R.  W. 
Braddell.  F.  Salzmann  and  Gaunt  came  in  with  1902, 
the  former  with  eight  wins  and  the  latter  with  five. 
Is  abihty  at  the  game  hereditary?  At  all  events  Mrs. 
Salzmann  had  won  the  Ladies'  Championship  in  1891. 
The  Spring  Tournament  of  1909  was  killed  by  the 
weather,  and  then  A.  D.  Cox  won  three  times  in  suc- 
cession. The  tournaments  have  grown  so  enormously 
since  then  that  any  record  of  the  winners  of  the  chief 
events  would  be  prodigious.  But  it  must  be  noted 
there  have  been  some  very  excellent  pairs  :  G.  S.  Brown 
and  J.  G.  Mactaggart,  who  beat  Ingall  and  Stewart 
(Perak)  in  1890  ;  Owen  and  Hooper,  who  won  the 
Profession  Pairs  in  1892,  and  beat  John  Anderson 
and  G.  Muir ;  R.  W.  Braddell  and  F.  M.  EUiot,  who 
carried  off  the  Profession  Pairs  ''  with  ease  "  in  1893, 
and  again  in  1894,  beating  E.  M.  Merewether  and 

The  Law  has  been  remarkably  successful  in  the  Pro- 
fession Pairs.  R.  W.  Braddell  and  H.  W.  H.  Gumming 
(Donaldson  and  Burkinshaw)  wrested  it  from  the  Mer- 
chants, G.  Muir  (Paterson,  Simons)  and  W.  E.  Hooper, 
in  1 89 1,  though  John  Anderson  and  Muir  recovered  the 
honour  in  1893,  beating -R.  W.  Braddell  and  Elliot. 
The  Braddell  and  Elliot  combination  then  started  their 
career  of  victory.  They  won  the  doubles  handicap 
and  the  Profession  Pairs,  both  tournaments  of  1 894,  the 
doubles  championship  in  spring  1895,  ^^^  the  doubles 
handicap  and  the  Profession  Pairs  at  both  tournaments, 
again  winning  the  Profession  Pairs  in  1896,  1901,  and 
1904.  In  1905  Cleaver  and  Perkins  (both  Drew  and 
Napier)  kept  the  event  in  their  hands,  till  Salzmann  and 
L.  E.  Gaunt  came  in  again  to  win  in  1906.  Upcott  and 
Terrell  (also  Drew  and  Napier)  won  in  spring  191 1, 
Gaunt  and  Perkins  in  autumn.  The  two  Terrells  beat 
another  law  team.  Gaunt  and  R.  L.  L.  Braddell  in  191 3, 
Salzmann  and  Braddell  (R.L.L.)  won  in  i9i4>  Gaunt  and 
C.  V.  Miles  (Rodyk  and  Davidson)  in  191 5,  a  remarkable 
series  of  wins  in  a  scratch  event. 


The  championships  (spring  and  autumn)  since  1910 
have  been  won  as  follows  :  19 10,  A.  D.  Cox,  A.  D.  Cox  ; 
191 1,  A.  D.  Cox,  L.  E.  Gaunt  ;  1912,  A.  D.  Cox,  C.  M. 
Howe;  191 3,  F.  Moding,  F.  Salzmann  ;  1914,  F. 
Salzmann  ;  191 5,  L.  E.  Gaunt  ;  1916,  J.  A.  Dean  ;  1917, 
J.  A.  Dean  ;  only  one  contest  a  year  taking  place  in 
these  latter  times. 

Rugby  Football 

A  great  institution  was  the  rugger  match  between 
Scotland  and  the  rest  of  the  world,  on  St.  Andrew's  Day. 
For  the  rest,  the  matches  have  been  dependent  on  the 
rare  presence  of  a  naval  team,  or  special  visiting  teams. 
Singapore  v.  Selangor  has  been  played  most  regularly, 
the  wins  being  Singapore  in  1902,  1904,  1906,  1908,  1916, 
and  1 9 1 7  ;  Selangor  won  in  1910,  1911,  1912,  and  1 9 1 3  ; 
draws  in  1905  and  1907  ;  and  the  match  iiot  played  in 
1914  and  1915. 

Association  Football 

Association  football  commenced  to  be  played  by 
the  engineers  on  a  piece  of  ground  at  Tank  Road  about 
1889,  and  R.  Scoular  and  James  McKenzie  used  to  go 
down  and  play  with  them,  prominent  among  the  first 
players  of  the  game  being  J.  Lawson,  C.  Lightfoot,  of 
the  O.B.C.,  and  Raymond,  of  the  Telegraph  Company. 
The  S.C.C.  team  was  soon  after  formed  by  Scoular  and 
McKenzie,  and  the  Association  Challenge  Cup  was  estab- 
lished in  1892.  An  excellent  team  in  the  early  days 
was  put  up  by  the  S.V.A.,  and  included  such  stalwarts  as 
Scoular,  McKenzie,  Allen  Dennys,  Plumpton,  and  later 
took  in  some  excellent  bank  men.  The  team  in  one 
season  scored  87  goals,  only  5  being  registered  against 
it.  The  winners  of  the  Association  Challenge'  Cup  since 
the  beginning  have  been  :  1892,  Royal  Engineers  ;  1894, 
Lincolns  ;  1895,  Royal  Artillery ;  1896,  Fusiliers  ;  1897, 
Rifle  Brigade  ;  1898,  R.A. ;  1899,  K.O.  Regiment ;  1900, 
1 2th  Company  R.G.A.  ;  1901,  S.C.C.  ;  1902,  R.A.  ; 
1903,    S.C.C;    1904,    Harlequins;    1905,    Sherwoods  ; 


1906,  Sherwoods ;  1907,  B  Team  West  Kents  ; 
1908,  West  Kents  ;  1909,  Middlesex  ;  1910,  Middlesex; 
1911,  Buffs;  1912,  Buffs;  1913,  K.O.Y.L.I.  ;  1916, 
Shropshires.  The  first  Singapore  v.  Johore  match  was 
played  in  1 894. 

The  military  teams  have  always  made  a  good  fight 
for  the  cup.  On  one  occasion  the  two  teams,  the  West 
Kents,  we  think,  played  about  eight  matches  before 
spoiling  the  record  of  repeated  draws.  About  the  fifth 
time  the  reason  for  the  extraordinary  record  began  to 
dawn  on  the  authorities.  The  Tommies  got  off  to  town 
for  the  day  with  expenses  paid  down,  they  were  well 
entertained,  and  had  a  chance  to  make  a  bit  on  the  book. 
Why,  then,  spoil  a  good  thing  ?  A  decision  was  finally 
arrived  at  on  the  second  time  of  playing  on  the  Tanglin 

The  Football  League  was  started  in  1904,  and  also  had 
a  good  effect  in  stimulating  interest  in  the  game.  Gener- 
ally the  military  teams  have  pulled  off  the  event. 

The  native  population  took  to  the  game  very  kindly, 
and  established  their  own  league  games,  Malay  and 
Chinese,  and  the  matches  are  generally  pretty  hard- 
fought  games. 

In  the  classic  matches,  Singapore  z;.  Selangor,  the  results 
of  games  have  been  :  no  results  for  1900,  1902,  and  1905  ; 
Singapore  won  in  1 90 1 ,  1 904,  1 907,  1 908,  1 9 1 1 ,  and  1 9 1 3  ; 
Selangor  won  in  191 2  ;  draws  in  1903,  1906,  and  1910  ; 
not  played  in  1909. 


The  game  was  introduced  in  1 892,  the  first  game  being 
played  on  the  28th  November.  It  has  had  man}^  fluctu- 
ations, a  good  player  like  Mr.  H.  A.  Mason,  or  an  enthu- 
siast like  Percy  Gold  (Evatt  &  Co.,  killed  at  the  front 
in  191 7),  or  a  good  hockey  regiment,  helping  to  keep 
up  the  interest.  In  1906,  for  instance,  over  fifty  games 
were  played,  and  evoked  considerable  enthusiasm.  The 
matches  against  Selangor  have  resulted  as  follows  : 
Selangor  won  in  1904,  1909,  and  191 3  ;  Singapore  won 


in   1906   and    191 1  ;    draws   in   1907,   1908,    1910,  and 

Lawn  Bowls 

This  game  was  first  played  in  the  'Seventies,  prominent 
among  the  players  being  M.  S.  Taylor,  G.  P.  Owen,  C. 
Paterson,  and  C.  H.  Lightfoot.  It  was  revived  in  1898, 
and  tournaments  have  since  been  pretty  regular^ 
held,  when,  if  not  large  in  number,  the  entries  prove  the 
presence  of  a  number  of  keen  players. 


This  game  presupposes  a  sufficient  number  of  trained 
ponies,  plenty  of  good  riders  and  keen  sportsmen,  and 
some  amount  of  money  to  keep  up  the  stables.  All 
three  have  not  been  uniformly  found  in  Singapore,  and 
the  cult  of  polo  has  therefore  flourished  and  decayed 
from  time  to  time,  depending  upon  the  energy  of  a  few 
players  and  often  the  presence  of  a  sporting  regiment. 
The  game  was  introduced  in  1886,  E.  W.  Birch  (now  Sir 
Ernest  Birch)  being  Secretary  pro  tern.  W.  C.  Symes,  of 
the  P.  &  O.  Company,  was  a  great  supporter  of  the  game 
then.  But  apparently  the  game  was  dropped,  for  we 
find  the  Club  in  1904  claiming  t9  have  been  formed  only 
in  1899.  The  game  was  flourishing  in  1904,  it  being 
stated  that  there  were  twenty-four  players,  each  with 
two  ponies.  They  asked  for  a  third  day  a  week,  on 
the  Racecourse,  the  Raffles  Reclamation  ground  being  too 
narrow.  Captain  C.  R.  Molyneux  therefore  asked  the 
Sporting  Club  for  more  facihties.  The  Golf  Club  pointed 
out  that  their  players  averaged  forty-six  a  day,  and  that 
they  could  not  see  their  way  to  giving  up  the  other  day. 
Eventually  a  new  ground  was  found  in  Balestier  Road, 
and  several  successful  gymkhanas  and  games  were  played 
there.  The  King's  Own  Regiment  were  great  sports, 
and  the  Club  flourished  during  their  stay,  and  when  they 
left  a  cup,  keen  contests  followed.  Then  Sir  Frank 
Swettenham  was  a  great  supporter  of  the  game,  and  the 
contests  with  Selangor  were  generally  full  of  interest. 


In  1900  Prince  Henry  of  Prussia,  who  was  out  here  in 
the  Deutschlandy  joined  in  a  game,  and  presented  a 
cup  to  the  Club.  In  1 90 1 ,  the  CiviUans  beat  Civil  Service  ; 
1902,  Civil  Service  beat  Garrison  ;  1903,  Civilians  beat 
Military  ;  1904,  Manchesters  beat  Club  ;  1905,  Singapore 
beat  Selangor  ;  in  the  following  3^ears  the  winners  were 
Club,  Club,  Civilians,  Middlesex,  Middlesex,  Selangor,  and 
in  191 2  Singapore  beat  Selangor.  H.H.  the  Sultan  of 
Johore  formed  a  ground  at  Tyersall,  and  several 
gymkhanas  were  held  there,  the  first  occasion  being 
given  as  the  i8th  February  1898. 

Mr.  C.  Sugden,  of  the  Borneo  Co.,  was  one  of  the 
hardest  workers  of  the  Sporting  Club,  and  highly 
esteemed,  though  rather  shy  and  reserved.  An  instance 
of  this  is  called  to  mind  that  when  the  Duke  and 
Duchess  of  York  came  to  Singapore,  a  polo  match  was 
arranged  with  those  accompanying  the  Royal  party,  the 
Club  members  finding  the  ponies,  and  Prince  Adolphus 
of  Teck  being  one  of  the  visiting  team.  Mr.  Sugden,  as 
President  of  the  Club,  should  have  met  the  royal  party, 
but  he  could  not  be  induced  to  undergo  the  ordeal,  and 
delegated  Mr.  G.  P.  Owen  to  do  the  honours.  In  1898, 
when  Mr.  Sugden  went  on  leave,  the  members  subscribed 
a  sum  of  money  with  which  to  purchase  a  souvenir  of 
his  services  as  Chairman  of  Committee  and  Clerk  of  the 

In  the  time  of  the  Sultan  Abubakar  of  Johore,  when 
Tyersall  was  kept  up  in  state,  there  was  a  drag  hunt. 
The  Sultan  imported  a  pack  of  hounds,  and  A.  Holley  had 
the  training  of  them,  but  the  climate  proved  too  much 
for  well-bred  dogs.  Later  a  pack  of  beagles  was 
imported,  but  they  did  not  stand  the  climate  any  better. 
In  the  early  'Eighties  a  "  Hunt  Club  Race"  was  included 
in  the  race  meeting,  and  the  members  took  part  in  it 
in  their  hunt  uniform,  dark  green  coat,  brass  buttons, 
black  velvet  peaked  caps,  white  breeches,  and  top  boots. 
Paper-chasing  was  the  next  form  of  horsemanship,  and 
at  times  this  has  been  keenly  enjoyed;  but  the  advent  of 
the  motor-car  and  the  disuse  of  other  than  racing  horses 


have  caused  even  this  mild  form  of  exercise  to  fall  into 

Ladies'  Lawn  Tennis  Club 

The  Ladies'  Lawn  Tennis  Club,  according  to  the  papers, 
was  started  by  Mr.  A.  L.  Donaldson  (Donaldson  and 
Burkinshaw),  and  by  the  4th  October  1884  the  Club  had 
seven  courts  going  on  Dhoby  Ghaut — the  same  place 
as  now,  but  infinitely  more  in  the  country,  as  the  Museum 
was  not  in  existence,  the  stream  ran  between  earthen 
banks,  and  hardly  one  of  the  houses  round  Dhoby 
Ghaut  was  built.  Mrs.  G.  P.  Owen  (then  Mrs.  Dare) 
lived  at  Carrington  House,  on  the  hill,  and  took  great 
interest  in  the  new  Club.  The  minute-book  shows  the 
first  meeting  to  have  been  held  on  the  30th  July  1884, 
at  Mrs.  Rowell's  house,  there  being  present  Mrs.  Rowell, 
Mrs.  Merewether  (now  Lady  Merewether),  Miss  Donald- 
son (who  became  Mrs.  P.  T.  Evatt),  Mr.  G.  T.  Addis 
(Mercantile  Bank),  and  Mr.  E.  W.  Birch  (Sir  Ernest 
Birch  now).  Mrs.  Clementi  Smith  was  invited  to  become 
Lady  Patroness  and  Mr.  Cecil  Clementi  Smith,  Acting 
Governor,  to  become  an  honorary  member.  The  minutes 
are  confirmed  as  by  M.  G.  Rowell,  Chairman — this  was 
before  the  claim  to  a  full  equality  of  the  sexes  was 
established.  The  first  tournament  was  decided  on  at 
Mrs.  Guthrie  Davidson's  house,  and  Mrs.  Dare  was  one 
of  the  handicappers.  Tournaments  succeeded  in  regular 
succession,  many  handsome  prizes  being  given.  Mr.  T. 
Cuthbertson  gave  a  championship  tray  of  the  value  of 
$1 50,  to  replace  one  won  outright  by  Miss  Dennys  (now 
Lady  Murray).  Mr.  Cuthbertson 's  prize  was  won  by 
Mrs.  Howard  Bentley,  and  H.H.  the  Sultana  of  Johore 
gave  a  cup  valued  $200.  Miss  Dennys  won  the  cham- 
pionship three  times,  and  once  after  she  was  married 
(1896) ;  Mrs.  Lovell  (wife  of  D.  W.  Lovell,  of  McKerrow 
and  Co.)  nine  times  ;  Mrs.  W.  P.  Waddell  (a  daughter  of 
Colonel  S.  Dunlop)  ten  times  ;  Mrs.  Saunders  won  it 
in  1 90 1,  again  in  1907,  1908,  and  191 2.  The  other  winners 
since   1906    are  Mrs.    Gansloser,    Mrs    Holden  (twice), 


Mrs.  Ransford,  Miss  Feindel  (twice),  Mrs.  Vowler 
(three  times,  1915,1917,1918),  and  Mrs.  Ferguson,  1 9 1 6. 
The  Government  permission  to  occupy  the  ground  is 
dated  the,  29th  May  1884.  The  paviHon  was  estimated 
to  cost,  painted  and  furnished,  $632. 

The  Singapore  Golf  Club 

The  first  definite  proposal  with  regard  to  the  formation 
of  a  Golf  Club  was  made  at  the  annual  general  meeting  of 
the  Sporting  Club  held  in  the  Exchange  Rooms  on  the 
30th  January  1 891 .  Mr.  Justice  Goldney  and  Mr.  R.  N. 
Bland  were  prime  movers  in  the  matter,  and  proposed 
and  seconded  respectively  the  following  resolution  : 

**  That  this  meeting  approves  of  the  Committee  of  the 
Singapore  Sporting  Club  allowing  golf  to  be  played  by 
members  of  the  Singapore  Sporting  Club  upon  the  Race- 
course, subject  to  such  play  being  under  the  control  of 
the  Singapore  Sporting  Club  Committee.*' 

The  resolution  met  with  general  approval,  and  after 
a  long  discussion  was  agreed  to ;  but  it  was  definitely 
laid  down  that  golf  must  not  in  any  way  interfere  with 
racing  or  training  at  the  course  at  any  hour  of  the  day, 
and  that  the  game  must  be  played  by  members  of  the 
Sporting  Club  only.  Mr.  Justice  Goldney,  Mr.  Bland, 
and  Mr.  G.  P.  Owen  met  at  the  Racecourse  on  the  ist 
February  1891,  went  over  the  ground,  and  selected  sites 
for  nine  greens  and  nine  teeing-grounds,  and  on  the  follow- 
ing day  one  coolie  was  engaged  at  a  salary  of  $7  per 
month  to  prepare  the  links. 

.  The  above  three  gentlemen  met  at  the  Land  Office, 
Government  Buildings,  on  the  24th  February,  and  it 
was  agreed  that  Mr.  Owen  would  act  as  Honorary 
Secretary  and  Mr.  Bland  as  Honorary  Treasurer.  It  was 
also  agreed  to  write  to  the  following  gentlemen,  inviting 
them  to  join  a  provisional  committee  :  Hon.  Major 
McCallum,  R.E.,  C.M.G.,  Major  Rich,  R.A.,  Colonel  Ellis, 
Hon.  Mr.  J.  Finlayson,  Hon.  Mr.  G.  S.  Murray,  Mr.  Justice 
Goldney,  Messrs.  R.  N.  Bland,  J.  R.  Cuthbertson,  Jas. 

n.  338] 

(Sir  John  Goldney). 
Caricature  by  R.  W.  Braddell. 


Miller,  W.  E.  Hooper,  C.  G.  Paterson,  A.  W.  Stiven,  C. 
Stringer,  A.  P.  Talbot,  and  G.  Bruce  Webster,  with  Mr.  G. 
P.  Owen  as  Honorary  Secretary. 

A  meeting  of  this  provisional  committee  was  held  on 
the  ist  April,  when  it  was  decided  to  support  the  forma- 
tion of  the  Golf  Club.  Mr.  Justice  Goldney  was  elected 
Chairman  of  the  provisional  committee,  and  it  was  agreed 
to  charge  an  entrance  fee  of  $2,  and  that  the  subscription 
be  $6  per  annum. 

A  general  meeting  of  members  of  the  Club  was  held 
in  May,  when  the  following  officers  were  elected  :  Presi- 
dent, Mr.  Justice  Goldney ;  Hon.  Secretary,  Mr.  G.  P. 
Owen  ;  Hon.  Treasurer,  Mr.  R.  N.  Bland  ;  Committee  : 
Major  Rich,  R.A.,  Hon.  Mr.  J.  Finlayson,  Hon.  Mr. 
J.  W.  Bonser,  Messrs.  James  Meikle,  C.  G.  Paterson,  and 
C.  Sugden. 

The  formal  opening  of  the  Club  took  place  on  the  1 7th 
June  1 89 1,  when  a  match  was  arranged.  Mr.  G.  P. 
Owen  resigned  the  hon.  secretaryship  in  August,  and  Mr. 
J.  B.  Robertson  was  elected  as  his  successor.  Mr.  J. 
B.  Robertson  was  the  first  Captain  of  the  Club,  but 
was  not  elected  to  that  office  until  the  annual  general 
meeting  of  1 893.  Mr.  Robertson  is  still  a  keen  golfer,  and 
is  to-day  Captain  of  the  Golf  Club  at  Medan.  The  total 
membership  of  the  Golf  Club  on  the  31st  December  1891 
was  sixty.  During  the  year  the  following  competitions 
and  matches  were  played  :  Handicap,  won  by  Mr.  A. 
Mackay  ;  Scotland  v.  the  World,  won  by  Scotland  by  six 
holes ;  Married  v.  Single,  won  by  Married  by  twenty 
holes  ;  President's  Prize,  won  by  Mr.  J.  W.  Bonser  ;  the 
Club  Championship  (commenced  September  1891),  won 
by  Mr.  J.  B.  Robertson. 

At  the  suggestion  of  the  Penang  Golf  Club  the  Straits 
Golf  Challenge  Cup,  which  eventually  developed  into 
the  Interport  Challenge  Shield,  was  instituted,  and 
the  match  was  played  at  Christmas.  The  conditions 
agreed  on  were  that  the  competition  should  be  played 
between  four  representatives  of  each  Club  over  one 
round  (nine  holes)  of  the  course ;  the  Club  gaining  the 


aggregate  majority  of  holes  to  be  the  winner,  and  to 
hold  the  cup  for  the  ensuing  year.  The  first  match 
was  played  at  Singapore  at  Christmas  1891,  and  resulted 
as  follows  : 



Mr.  J.  B.  Robertson 

.     2  holes 

Mr.  D.  A.  M.  Brown 

.     0  holes 

„    P.  A.  GHlespie    . 

.      I      „ 

„    A.  L.  M.  Scott    . 

.     0     „ 

Major  Rich 

.     2     „ 

„    A.  G.  Wright      . 

.     0     ., 

Mr.  A.  W.  Stiven      . 

I      » 

„    E.  W.  Presgrave 

•     0     „ 

The  Penang  Club  was  also  instrumental  in  starting 
the  Straits  Golf  Championship,  a  competition  open  to 
members  of  both  clubs,  to  be  decided  by  the  best  score 
by  strokes  over  two  rounds  of  the  course  (eighteen  holes), 
the  winner  to  be  entitled  to  hold  the  championship 
of  the  Straits  Settlements  for  the  ensuing  year.  The 
first  championship  was  played  at  Singapore,  and  was 
won  by  Mr.  A.  L.  M.  Scott,  of  Penang,  who  returned 
a  net  score  of  91,  which  in  those  days  was  considered 
a  very  fine  performance.  Mr.  J.  B.  Robertson,  Singa- 
pore Golf  Club,  was  second,  with  a  score  of  94.  The 
Club  did  not  in  those  days  possess  a  pavilion,  so  the 
members  had  to  make  use  of  the  Sporting  Club  stands 
as  dressing-rooms.  Liquid  refreshments  were  unobtain- 
able, so  it  was  decided  to  make  Wednesdays  and  Satur- 
days club  days,  and  on  these  days  refreshments  were 
obtainable  by  members  on  their  signing  chits.  Wed- 
nesdays and  Saturdays  soon  proved  to  be  the  favourite 
golfing  days.  There  are  two  gentlemen  still  in  the 
Colony  who,  if  not  original  members  of  the  Club,  joined 
soon  after  its  formation,  Mr.  W.  E.  Hooper  and  Mr. 
James  Drysdale.  Mr.  Hooper  still  takes  an  active 
interest  in  the  Club,  and  is  a  member  of  the  present 

Mr.  Justice  Goldney  was  re-elected  President  for 
the  year  1892,  and  the  Committee  were  :  J.  MacRitchie, 
P.  A.  Gillespie,  C.  G.  Paterson,  A.  W.  Stiven,  J.  Miller, 
and  J.  Meikle,  with  J.  B.  Robertson  Hon.  Secretary 
and  R. 'N.  Bland  Hon.  Treasurer.     Mr.  Justice  Goldney 


left  the  Colony  in  May  i'892,  and  Mr.  MacRitchie  was 
elected  President. 

The  Straits  Championship  was  won  by  Dr.  T.  S.  Kerr, 
with  a  score  of  93. 

At  the  annual  general  meeting  held  on  the  30th  January 
1893  the  following  officers  were  elected  :  President, 
Sir  Elliot  C.  Bovill ;  Captain,  J.  B.  Robertson ;  Hon. 
Secretary,  Mr.  J.  W.  B.  Maclaren ;  Hon.  Treasurer, 
Mr.  P.  A.  Gillespie  ;  Committee  :  Messrs.  C.  Stringer, 
J.  M.  Allinson,  R.  Dunman,  Surgeon-Captain  Hindle, 
and  Hon.  Mr.  J.  W.  Bonser. 

Mr.  MacRitchie  was  again  President  of  the  Club  in 
May  1893.  The  subscription  was  raised  to  $1  per 
month.  The  Monthly  Medal  Competitions  commenced 
in  March  1893,  but  no  prize  was  given  to  the  winner. 
The  membership  of  the  Club  had  by  this  time  increased 
considerably,  and  the  want  of  a  club  house  caused  great 
inconvenience  to  the  members.  Many  schemes  were 
submitted,  but  all  fell  through,  and  it  was  not  until 
a  joint  meeting  of  delegates  of  the  Sporting  Club  and 
the  Golf  Club  met  that  any  really  feasible  scheme  was 
brought  forward.  Messrs.  Adams,  Cadell,  and  Carr 
represented  the  Sporting  Club,  and  Messrs.  MacRitchie 
and  Maclaren  the  Golf  Club.  The  Committee  of  the 
Sporting  Club  agreed  to  erect  a  building  at  a  cost  not 
to  exceed  $3,000,  and  to  maintain  the  same,  the 
Golf  Club  to  pay  a  rental  of  $20  per  month,  the  rent  to 
be  increased  if  it  was  found  that  $20  per  month  was  not 
sufficient  to  pay  6  per  cent,  on  the  capital  and  the 
maintenance.  The  offer  of  the  Sporting  Club  was 
accepted,  and  the  Club  House  was  erected  and  formally 
opened  on  the  2 7th  January  1 894.  In  1 893  it  was  decided 
to  limit  the  membership  of  the  Club  to  150,  and  that 
the  Interport  Match,  Penang  v.  Singapore,  should  be  an 
eighteen  hole  instead  of  a  nine  hole  match.  Penang  won 
by  5  holes.  Mr.  A.  W.  Stiven,  representing  the  Singapore 
Golf  Club,  won  the  Straits  Championship  with  a  score 
of  88.  The  Club  Championship  was  won  by  Captain 
Barter.     Dr.    Mugliston    won  the    March    Medal    and 


Mr.  W.  E.  Hooper  the  Bonser  Cup.  In  1894  Penang 
won  the  Interport  by  2  holes,  and  Mr.  David  Brown, 
representing  Penang,  won  the  Straits  Championship, 
with  a  score  of  92.  The  record  of  the  hnks  to  date 
was  9  holes,  39  ;  18  holes,  84,  these  scores  being 
returned  by  both  Mr.  J.  B.  Robertson  and  Mr.  A.  W. 

The  officers  of  the  Club  for  the  year  1 894  were : 
President,  Mr.  J.  MacRitchie  ;  Captain,  Mr.  A.  W. 
Stiven;  Hon.  Secretary,  Mr.  J.  W.  B.  Maclaren,  and 
Hon.  Treasurer,  Mr.  J.  D.  Taylor.  Among  the  medal 
winners  in  1894  were  Mr.  H.  V.  M.  Vade,  March  and 
April,  and  Mr.  F.  M.  Elliot,  December.  In  1895  Dr. 
Fowlie  was  Hon.  Secretary  and  Mr.  C.  Stringer  was 
elected  President,  that  post  becoming  vacant  owing 
to  the  death  of  Mr.  MacRitchie.  It  was  in  this  year 
that  the  polo  agitation  recommenced.  An  application 
was  made  to  the  Sporting  Club  to  allow  polo  to  be 
played  on  the  Racecourse.  The  Committees  of  the  two 
clubs.  Sporting  Club  and  Golf  Club,  discussed  the 
matter  at  a  meeting,  and  various  correspondence  passed 
between  the  two  clubs.  The  Golf  Club  stated  that  they 
could  not  agree  to  the  proposal.  The  main  contentions 
of  the  Golf  Club  were  that  polo  had  already  been 
unsuccessfully  started  twice,  and  they  did  not  think 
that  such  an  established  and  popular  club  as  the  Golf 
Club  should  be  interfered  with,  as  both  games  could 
not  be  played  at  the  same  time,  and  polo  would  so 
damage  a  large  portion  of  the  ground  as  to  render 
it  unsuitable  for  golf.  A  special  general  meeting  of 
members  of  the  Golf  Club  was  held  in  June,  and  fifty-two 
members  attended.  The  members  agreed  with  the 
action  taken  by  the  Committee,  and  passed  resolutions 
to  that  effect  by  an  overwhelming  majority.  The 
members  of  the  Golf  Club  who  took  a  prominent  part 
in  the  discussion  were  Messrs.  Stringer,  T.  Earle,  A. 
Gentle,  and  J.  M.  Allinson.  The  result  was  that  on 
the  facts  and  correspondence  being  placed  before  the 
officers  of  the  garrison  interested  in  polo,  they  volun- 


tarily   withdrew    their    appKcation    for    permission    to 
play  polo  on  the  Racecourse. 

During  Christmas  week  1895  a  golf  tournament 
was  held,  visitors  from  Penang,  Batavia,  and  F.M.S. 
taking  part.  The  championship  of  the  tournament 
was  won  by  Mr.  D.  A.  M.  Brown,  who  also  won  the 
Straits  and  F.M.S.  Championship. 

In  1896  Mr.  Grigor  Taylor  was  President,  and  Mr. 
H.  V.  M.  Vade  Captain.  The  Straits  Championship 
played  at  Penang  was  again  won  by  Mr.  D.  A.  M.  Brown, 
with  a  score  of  81,  up  to  date  the  lowest  score  on  record. 

At  the  annual  general  meeting  in  1897  Mr.  Grigor 
Taylor  was  again  elected  President  and  Mr.  Stiven 
Captain.  Considerable  discussion  took  place  on  a 
proposition  to  raise  the  subscription  from  $1  to  $2,  and 
also  on  an  amendment  that  the  subscription  be  only 
increased  from  $1  to  $1.50.  Both  motions  were  re- 
jected, and  Mr.  Stiven  resigned  the  captaincy,  as  there 
were  not  sufficient  incoming  funds  to  keep  the  course  in 
order.  Dr.  Fowlie  was  then  elected  Captain.  A  special 
general  meeting  was  held  on  the  9th  April,  to  consider 
the  financial  position  of  the  Club.  It  was  proposed  by 
the  President  that  the  entrance^fee  be  $2  and  the  sub- 
scription $2  per  month.  The  motion  was  again  defeated, 
whereon  the  officials  of  the  Club  all  resigned.  Members 
who  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  discussion  were  Messrs. 
Grigor  Taylor,  W.  H.  Shelford,  Dr.  Fowlie,  Mr.  Justice 
Leach,  E.  C.  Ellis,  Berdoe-Wilkinson,  Egerton,  and 
Makepeace.  Mr.  C.  Stringer  was  elected  President  and 
Mr.  T.  E.  Earle  Captain,  with  Mr.  W.  H.  Shelford  as 
Hon.  Secretary.  At  this  period  of  the  Club's  history 
"  bolshevism  "  appeared  to  be  very  rife.  Mr.  D.  A.  M. 
Brown  won  the  Straits  Championship  with  a  score  of  81. 
This  was  his  third  win  in  succession.  In  1897  Mr.  Vade 
held  the  record  of  the  links  :  9  holes,  36  ;  18  holes,  tj. 
In  1898  Dr.  Fowhe  won  the  Club  Championship  for 
the  third  consecutive  time,  and  therefore  was  entitled 
to  keep  the  special  gold  medal  presented  by  Sir  John 
Goldney.  The  Straits  Championship  was  played  at 


Penang,  and  won  by  Dr.  Fowlie.  The  ladies'  monthly 
medal  competition  commenced  in  April  1898,  and  was 
won  by  Mrs.  J.  D.  Saunders. 

In  December  1898  the  Committee  of  the  Sporting 
Club  gave  permission  for  polo  to  be  played  on  the  links 
on  two  days  a  week.  Mondays  and  Thursdays  were 
the  days  selected.  Colonel  Pennefather,  Captain  Duff, 
A.D.C.,  and  Mr.  Symes,  of  the  P.  &  O.  Company,  applied 
to  the  Sporting  Club  for  permission  to  play  polo  on  the 
Racecourse.  Copies  of  the  correspondence  and  reso- 
lutions of  1895  (previously  referred  to)  were  forwarded 
to  them  by  the  Golf  Club,  and  it  was  thought  this  would 
settle  the  matter  ;  but  the  then  Committee  of  the  Sport- 
ing Club,  without  consulting  the  members  in  general 
meeting,  and  against  the  weight  of  the  opinion  of  a  large 
number  of  members,  gave  permission  for  polo  to  be 
played.  It  is  highly  probable  that  had  members  been 
consulted  in  general  meeting,  permission  to  play  polo  on 
the  Racecourse  would  never  have  been  given.  This 
action  of  the  Sporting  Club  Committee  was  much  re- 
sented by  the  golfing  members  of  the  Sporting  Club, 
who  now  numbered  175,  and  from  this  date  on  there 
was  always  a  certain  amount  of  friction  between  the 
Sporting  and  Polo  Clubs  and  the  Golf  Club.  This  was 
less  prevalent  when  the  Sporting  Club  was  under  the 
chairmanship  of  the  late  Sir  Hugh  Fort,  and  later  under 
the  chairmanship  of  Sir  Evelyn  Ellis  all  differences  were 
amicably  arranged.  Mr.  Gentle  was  President  of  the 
Club  in  1899,  Mr.  Justice  Leach  in  1900  and  1901,  and 
Colonel  Gates  in  1902.  The  Straits  Championships  were 
won  by:  1899,  C.  J.  Glassford,  84;  1900,  G.  Macbain, 
85  ;  1901,  C.  J.  Glassford,  84;  1902,  A.  B.  Stevens,  85. 

In  1903  Mr.  F.  Ferguson  was  elected  Captain,  and 
filled  this  position  on  many  other  occasions.  Mr. 
Ferguson  was  one  of  the  best  captains  the  Club  ever 
had,  and  took  the  keenest  interest  in  the  welfare  of 
the  Club.  The  members  of  the  Club  owe  him  a  debt 
of  gratitude  for  all  he  did  for  golf  in  the  Straits  Settle- 
ments.    He    won    the    Straits    Championship    in    this 


year  with  a  score  of  79,  which  constituted  a  championship 
record.  In  1904  Hon.  Mr.  J.  M.  AUinson  was  President, 
Mr.  Oliver  Marks  Captain,  and  Mr.  C.  W.  Spriggs  Hon. 
Secretary  and  Treasurer.  Mr.  Spriggs  served  for  two 
years,  and  was  a  most  efficient  and  popular  officer. 
On  his  leaving  for  home  the  members  presented  him 
with  a  gold  watch  as  a  mark  of  their  appreciation. 
The  winner  of  the  Straits  Championship  was  Mr.  T. 
F.  Longmuir,  of  the  Hongkong  and  Shanghai  Bank, 
with  a  score  of  85.  Mr.  T.  de  M.  Braddell  was  elected 
President  in  1905.  The  Straits  Championship  in  1905 
and  1906  was  won  by  Dr.  R.  A.  Campbell,  who  each 
year  returned  scores  of  81.  The  golf  championship 
for  all  Singapore  was  inaugurated  in  1905,  and  was 
won  by  Mr.  C.  V.  Miles,  representing  Sepoy  Lines  Golf 
Club.  In  1906  Mr.  Oliver  Marks  was  President,  Mr. 
Miles  Captain,  and  Mr.  T.  J.  M.  Greenfield  Hon.  Sec- 
retary and  Treasurer. 

At  the  general  meeting  held  in  1907,  Captain  Young, 
C.M.G.  (now  H.E.  Sir  Arthur  Young,  G.C.M.G.,  K.B.E.), 
was  elected  President,  Mr.  Ferguson  Captain,  Mr.  J. 
Waddell  Hon.  Secretary,  and  Mr.  Odell  Hon.  Treasurer. 
In  electing  Captain  Young  to  the  presidency  of  the  Club, 
the  members  were  fortunate  in  electing  a  president  who 
has  always  taken  the  greatest  interest  in  the  Club,  and 
has  been  one  of  the  keenest  golfers.  H.E.  Sir  Arthur 
Young  occupied  the  position  as  President  of  the  Club 
continuously  from  April  1907  until  1919,  except  for 
short  periods  when  he  has  been  absent  from  the  Colony, 
and  there  is  no  doubt  he  has  been  the  most  popular 
official  the  Club  ever  had,  and  has  done  as  much  as 
any  other  golfer  to  further  the  interests  of  the  game  of 
golf  in  Malaya.  His  Excellency  won  many  club  prizes, 
in  1906  the  gold  medal,  and  in  1909  both  the  Spring  and 
Autumn  Cups. 

In  1907  the  Club  House  was  altered  and  extended. 
Owing  to  the  Racecourse  being  under  water,  the  Straits 
Championship  was  played  over  the  Garrison  Course,  and 
was  won  by  Captain  Kirkwood. 


In  1908  Sir  Arthur  Young  was  re-elected  President, 
Mr.  Ferguson  Captain,  Mr.  W.  J.  Mayson  Hon.  Secretary, 
and  Mr.  J.  Henry  Hon.  Treasurer.  The  Straits  Cham- 
pionship was  played  at  Penang,  and  the  conditions  were 
altered  from  eighteen  to  thirty-six  holes.  Mr.  D.  A.  M. 
Brown,  of  Penang,  for  the  fourth  time  won  the  cham- 
pionship, with  the  excellent  score  of  154.  Up  to  date 
(1919)  this  score  has  not  been  beaten. 

The  Straits  Championship  in  1909  was  played  at  Kuala 
Lumpur,  and  was  won  by  Mr.  Miles,  representing  Singa- 
pore Golf  Club,  with  a  score  of  164.  In  19 10  the  Captain, 
Hon.  Secretary,  and  Hon.  Treasurer  retired,  and  Mr. 
Crabb  Watt  was  elected  Captain,  Mr.  Mundell  Hon. 
Secretary,  and  Mr.  Cruttwell  Hon.  Treasurer.  The 
Straits  Championship  was  won  this  year  by  Mr.  G. 
R.  K.  Mugliston,  representing  Singapore  Golf  Club, 
with  a  score  of  158. 

In  191 1  Mr.  E.  F.  H.  Edlin  was  elected  President,  Dr. 
Finlayson  Captain,  Mr.  Mundell  Hon.  Secretary,  and  Mr. 
Proctor  Hon.  Treasurer.  Dr.  Finlayson,  one  of  the  stal- 
warts of  the  Club,  put  in  a  lot  of  useful  work  as  Captain 
on  two  occasions,  and  successfully  carried  out  various 
improvements  on  the  links.  The  Straits  Championship, 
played  in  Penang,  was  won  by  Mr.  J.  C.  Durward, 
representing  the  Penang  Golf  Club,  with  a  score  of  162. 

In  191 2  H.E.  Sir  Arthur  Young,  K.C.M.G.,  K.B.E., 
returned  to  the  Colony  as  Governor,  and  graciously 
accepted  the  invitation  of  the  members  of  the  Club  to 
be  again  President  of  the  Club,  and  remained  in  office 
until  he  retired  in  191 9.  Dr.  Finlayson  was  elected 
Captain,  Mr.  W.  J.  Mayson  Hon.  Secretary,  and  Mr. 
Proctor  Hon.  Treasurer.  In  June  of  this  year  the  Club 
celebrated  the  twenty-first  year  of  its  existence.  The 
Straits  Championship  was  played  for  the  first  time  at 
Ipoh,  and  was  won  by  Mr.  J.  L.  Humphreys,  representing 
the  Penang  Golf  Club,  with  a  score  of  177. 

In  191 3  Mr.  Mugliston  was  elected  Captain,  and  with 
the  exception  of  a  few  months  in  19 14,  when  he  was  away 
from  the  Colony,  held  this  position  until  191 9,  a  record  of 


service.  During  Mr.  Mugliston's  captaincy  the  Polo 
Club  was  induced  to  leave  the  Racecourse  and  open  a 
ground  of  its  own,  the  Golf  Club  giving  a  Hberal  subscrip- 
tion to  further  that  object.  Mr.  Mugliston  took  full 
advantage  of  this,  and  improved  the  links  wonderfully ; 
bunkers  were  erected  and  excellent  fairways  made,  and 
under  the  Captain's  supervision  the  course  has  been  well 
kept  since  the  improvements  were  carried  out.  Mr. 
Mugliston  was  undoubtedly  a  very  successful  captain, 
and  did  a  great  deal  of  good  work  for  the  Club.  The 
Straits  Championship  was  won  by  Mr.  J.  Crabb  Watt, 
representing  Penang,  after  a  tie  with  Mr.  J.  M.  Bell,  of 

In  1 914  Mr.  Raper  was  elected  Hon.  Secretary  and  Mr. 
W.  P.  W.  Ker  Hon.  Treasurer.  Mr.  Raper  served  as  Hon. 
Secretary  four  years,  and  members  are  much  indebted 
to  him  for  the  excellent  way  he  carried  out  his  duties 
and  looked  after  their  interests.  On  his  retirement 
the  members  presented  him  with  a  suit-case  and  cigar- 
box.  The  Straits  Championship  was  played  at  Kuala 
Lumpur,  and  won  by  Mr.  C.  J.  Foot,  after  a  tie  with  Mr. 
C.  E.  Winter,  Singapore. 

In  191 5  Mr.  Percy  Gold  was  elected  Hon.  Treasurer, 
and  on  his  leaving  Singapore  Mr.  Ward  accepted 
office.  The  Straits  and  F.M.S.  Championship,  played 
at  Penang,  was  won  by  Mr.  R.  T.  Reid,  representing 
Penang.  In  191 6  and  191 7  the  officers  were  all  re-elected. 
The  Straits  and  F.M.S.  Championship,  191 6,  played  at 
Ipoh,  was  won  by  Mr.  J.  Crabb  Watt,  representing 
Penang.  In  191 7  and  191 8  the  Straits  and  F.M.S. 
Championship  and  club  competitions  were  not  played. 
In  191 7  Mr.  W.  R.  Forde  was  elected  Hon.  Secretary 
and  Mr.  W.  P.  Plummer  Hon.  Treasurer,  and  these 
gentlemen  still  hold  office.  Mr.  W.  Peel  is  the  President 
of  the  Club  and  Mr.  J.  M.  Sime  Captain.  The  Straits 
and  F.M.S.  Championship  was  revived  at  Easter  1919, 
and  was  played  over  the  links  of  the  Club.  Mr.  J.  L. 
Humphreys,  representing  Singapore  Golf  Club,  was  the 
winner,  with  a  score  of  155  ;  Mr.  W.  R.  Forde  finished 


two  points  behind.  The  competition  records  of  the 
course  are  held  by  Mr.  Forde,  with  a  score  of  72  for  the 
eighteen  holes,  and  33  for  nine  holes.  Mr.  Humphreys, 
in  practice,  did  nine  holes  in  32 — 4,  2,  4,  4,  3,  4,  3,  4,  4. 
The  best  score  for  eighteen  holes  was  returned  by  the 
Club  professional  Omar  :  64  for  eighteen  holes — first 
nine,  3,  3,  4,  3,  4,  4,  3,  3,  5  =32  ;  second  nine,  3,  2,  5,  4, 

3,  3,  3,  4,  5  =  32. 

The  winners  of  the  Club  Championship  are  :  1 891-2, 
J.  B.  Robertson;  1893,  Captain  Barter;  1894,  Surgeon- 
Captain  Hinde ;  1895,  J-  B.  Robertson;  1896-7-8,  Dr. 
Fowlie  ;  1899,  A.  W.  Stiven  ;  1 900-1,  Dr.  Fowlie  ;  1902, 
F.  Ferguson;  1903,  Dr.  Fowlie;  1904,  F.  Ferguson; 
1905,  Dr.  Fowlie;  1906,  Dr.  R.  A.  Campbell;  1907-8, 
F.  Ferguson;  1909,  J.  Crabb  Watt ;  19 10,  F.  Ferguson; 
191 1,  J.  Crabb  Watt;  191 2,  Dr.  Finlayson ;  191 3-14, 
C.  E.  Winter. 


In  a  preface  to  the  Singapore  Sporting  Club  Rules  of 
1 896  the  following  account  is  given  of  the  origin  of  the 

"  The  Singapore  Sporting  Club  was  founded  in  1842, 
with  the  object  of  encouraging  the  importation  and 
improvement  of  horses  in  the  Colony  by  giving  away 

"  The  Government  of  the  day  gave  to  the  Club,  on  its 
foundation,  possession  of  the  ground  on  which  the 
existing  course  now  stands.  The  course  was  made  by 
the  Club  out  of  a  swamp.  On  the  31st  March  1867  the 
Government  made  a  lease  for  999  years,  at  a  pepper-corn 
rent,  of  the  land — fifty  acres  in  extent — to  Messrs.  J. 
Cameron,  W.  H.  Read,  and  C.  H.  H.  Wilsone,  as  Stewards 
of  the  Sporting  Club,  on  condition  that  the  ground  should 
be  always  kept  clear  of  brushwood  and  be  maintained 
in  good  order,  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  local  Government, 
as  a  public  race  ground  and  rifle  practice  ground  for  the 
troops  stationed  in  the  Colony  and  the  Singapore  Rifle 
Volunteers.  The  present  Trustees  are  Messrs.  J.  R. 
Cuthbertson,  Theo.  Sohst,  and  S.  R.  Carr." 


All  subscriptions  and  donations  are  vested  in  the  Club, 
which  is  accountable  for  the  proper  application  thereof. 

Mr.  W.  H.  Read,  one  of  the  original  promoters  of  the 
Club,  was  then  an  honorary  member,  the  others  being 
the  Governor,  Sultan  Ibrahim  of  Johore,  and  the  Rajah 
of  Sarawak,  Sir  Charles  Brooke.  The  same  book  says  : 
"  The  Singapore  Sporting  Club  is  from  the  7th  day  of 
January  1896  associated  with  the  Penang  Turf  Club, 
the  Perak  Turf  Club,  the  Selangor  Turf  Club,  and  the 
Sungei  Ujong  and  Jelebu  Gymkhana  Club,  under  the 
name  of  the  Straits  Racing  Association."  Three  days' 
races  were  held  in  1844,  in  the  mornings,  and  on  the 
preceding  evening  of  each  day  a  dinner  was  held  in  the 
Grand  Stand,  open  to  all  members.  At  the  March  races 
of  1845  ^  four-in-hand  club  (ponies)  turned  out  with  a 
drag,  as  a  novelty,  but  one  can  hardly  suppose  that 
Daddy  Abrams's  custom  of  a  drag  to  the  Derby  when  at 
home  (for  which  he  gathered  all  the  Straits  racing 
people)  was  based  on  this  primitive  turnout,  or  the  drag 
which  he  used  on  Mafficking  Day  to  go  to  the  Singapore 
Club  and  Government  House. 

In  1867  the  stewards  included  W.  H.  Read,  A.  T 
Carmichael,  T.  Scott,  C.  H.  H.  Wilsone,  and  the  Honorary 
Secretary  was  John  Cameron,  who  afterwards  became 
proprietor  of  the  Straits  Times.  The  personnel  changed 
but  little  for  many  years.  There  were  three  honourables 
in  1874 — J.  W.  W.  Birch,  the  father  of  Sir  Ernest,  T. 
Scott,  and  W.  R.  Scott,  John  Cameron  being  still  Hon. 
Secretary.  The  cheerful  R.  I.  Harper,  who  was  then 
acting  manager  of  the  Chartered  Bank,  and  afterwards 
became  a  broker,  was  also  a  Steward. 

In  the  'Seventies  interest  in  horse-racing  lagged  a  little, 
and  there  was  a  lament  that  professional  riders  were 
replacing  gentlemen.  Abrams,  Jinks,  and  Marshall  were 
in  their  prime.  In  1878  five  China  ponies  were  brought 
down,  but  proved  troublesome  animals. 

In  1880  there  were  two  days'  racing,  and  six  events  on 
each  day.  W.  H.  Read  was  the  judge,  S.  Gilfillan  a 
starter,  John  Eraser  and  Charles  Dunlop  clerks  of  scales. 


C.  Stringer  and  J.  Miller  among  the  Committee.  The 
Singapore  Derby  was  valued  at  $150,  for  all  ponies,  and 
was  won  by  Mr.  A.  Huttenbach's  Moracia,  a  Penang 
horse  being  second,  the  riders  in  this  race  being  Clarke, 
Abrams,  and  Marshall.  The  Maharaja  of  Johore  had 
entries  in  four  races. 

In  1884  the  Derby  was  worth  $200,  and  China 
ponies  were  raced.  There  was  also  an  event  for  hack 
gharry  ponies  ;  the  race-book  was  issued  by  Fraser  and 
Neave.  Jockeys  at  the  autumn  meeting  were  Dalian, 
A.  Holley,  Abrams,  Mr.  E.  L.  Rae(T.  E.  Earle,  Adamson, 
Gilfillan),  Marshall,  Mr.  Howden  (Mr.  C.  Sugden),  and  Mr. 
Paterson  (Cosmo).  Next  year  the  butts  on  the  Race- 
course, which  had  not  been  used  because  of  danger  since 
1870,  were  removed.  A  batch  of  Burma  subscription 
griffins  was  obtained  for  the  spring  meeting  of  1886, 
and  there  was  one  hurdle-race  on  each  day. 

By  1884  W.  A.  Cadell  had  come  in  as  Honorary  Secre- 
tary and  Clerk  of  the  Course,  and  at  this  time  the  paper 
records  : 

^*  At  the  November  race  meeting  amateur  jockeys  were 
greatly  to  the  fore.  Mr.  C.  Sugden  won  the  Derby  and 
two  other  races,  with  five  seconds  out  of  ten  mounts ; 
Mr.  *  Rae  *  (T.  E.  Earle)  had  six  firsts  and  a  second  ; 
Mr.  Allinson  could  only  get  seconds  ;  *  Daddy '  Abrams 
won  four  races  and  Dalian  two.  Mr.  Hullett  owned  a 
horse,  Tewfik  Bay,  which  won  the  Ladies'  Purse." 

A  change  came  later,  for  at  the  1887  spring  meeting 
Mr.  E.  L.  Rae  (T.  E.  Earle)  won  five  races,  against  Abrams 
six,  Mr.  Sugden  one.  In  the  autumn  races  Mr.  Curpejee 
(J.  Paton  Ker)  won  two,  Mr.  Rae  and  Abrams  three 

In  1882  A.  P.  Adams  was  Honorary  Secretary — his 
close  interest  in  racing  was  maintained  up  to  the  time 
he  left  the  Colony.  **  J.  Fraser  and  D.  C.  Neave  con- 
ducted the  Club  lotteries,"  and  the  race-book  was  printed 
at  their  establishment,  the  Mission  Press.  S.  R.  Carr, 
"  Pendek,"  of  John  Little  and  Co.,  came  into  the  field  as  a 

n.  350] 

"MR.  curpeje;e:" 

(J.  Paton  Ker). 
Caricature  by  R.  W.  Braddeh 


racing  man  of  the  best.  In  1896  he  presented  a  Derby 
Shield  to  the  Club .  The  first  number  of  the  Straits  Racing 
Calendar  was  printed  in  April  1897,  ^^^  was  evidently 
needed,  as  in  January  of  the  previous  year  the  griffins 
arrived  by  the  Fazilka.  Vanitas  won  the  Viceroy's  Cup 
in  1898,  and  $100,000  is  said  to  have  come  to  Singapore. 

Matters  went  fairly  smoothly  for  some  years,  and  the 
Club  grew  in  wealth  and  popularity.  The  stands  were 
rebuilt  and  the  course  vastly  improved.  There  were 
some  throwbacks  to  the  sport,  as  when  in  the  'Eighties  a 
member  appealed  against  the  decision  of  the  Committee 
removing  his  name,  and  the  case  went  into  Court.  Then, 
in  1 90 1,  the  Sultan  of  Johore  resigned  the  Sporting  Club 
over  the  importation  of  a  horse  from  Australia.  The 
Place  Tote  was  introduced  at  the  November  meeting 
in  1903. 

The  success  with  Tan  Boo  Liat's  Vanitas  led  at 
diiferent  times  to  other  raids  being  made  on  Calcutta, 
but  on  the  whole  they  cannot  be  characterised  as 
very  successful.  Amongst  horses  which  have  been  sent 
there  from  the  Straits  were  Essington  and  The  Idler 
about  1904,  and  Seddon,  Severity,  and  Phonograph 
some  seven  years  later.  Calcutta  in  its  turn  has  contri- 
buted some  horses  to  the  permanent  racing  records 
of  the  Straits,  of  which  the  most  noted,  probably,  of 
recent  years  was  Acetine,  brought  down  by  Mr.  Payne 
Gallwey,  which  won  the  Governor's  Cup  at  the  1906 
autumn  meeting,  a  powerful  grey  that  had  not  had  the 
best  of  luck  in  the  big  Calcutta  events.  Others  that 
have  come  at  various  times  have  been  Too  Late  and 
Pretty  Boy.  Of  the  former,  who  raced  in  Calcutta 
as  Bridge  Knight,  the  most  notable  characteristic 
was  his  rooted  aversion  to  starting.  Time  after  time 
he  was  left  stuck  at  the  post,  and  although  he  won 
many  races,  no  one  ever  knew  whether  he  was  going 
to  get  off.  It  is  related  that  after  a  series  of  such 
displays  of  obstinacy  Duval  once  got  up  on  him  when  the 
stable  had  their  money  on  wearing  big  spurs  and  carrying 
a  heavy  whip.     When  the  gate  went  up,  in  went  the 


spurs  and  down  came  the  whip  with  such  a  will  that 
Too  Late  was  so  startled  that  he  galloped  to  the  front, 
and  was  never  headed. 

In  the  period  about  1900  to  1904  the  leading  men 
were  C.  Sugden,  T.  Earle,  H.  Payne  Gallwey,  Hugh 
Fort,  and  others.  Kirwan  and  HoUey  headed  the 
jockey  lists,  and  Peerbux  was  riding  well.  Peerbux, 
b}^  the  way,  more  than  once  brought  off  a 
remarkable  surprise  in  the  griffin  races,  of  which 
he  seemed  to  make  a  speciality,  and  he  was  also 
the  rider  of  Halopin,  which,  with  one  exception, 
paid  the  highest  dividend  on  record.  Halopin  in  1908, 
after  a  long  series  of  failures,  came  in  first  over  R.C. 
and  a  distance,  and  paid  the  handsome  sum  of  $497 
per  ticket.  It  is  worth  recording  that  he  won  only 
one  other  race.  A  story  current  at  the  meeting  was 
that  the  wife  of  an  important  personage  in  Singapore 
then  had  as  her  cavalier  that  day  a  young  man  newly 
out  to  the  East,  and  she  asked  him  to  take  a  ticket 
for  her  on  Halopin.  Neglecting  to  do  so,  he  did  not 
dare  to  confess  the  omission,  and,  being  assured  by 
all  the  experts  that  the  horse  had  not  a  ghostly  chance, 
felt  safe.  When  Halopin  rolled  home  he  had  sorrow- 
fully to  admit  to  himself  that  more  than  his  first  month's 
salary  would  be  required  to  pay  the  lady's  winnings  I 
The  biggest  dividend  on  record  is  that  of  Daffodil, 
ridden  by  Mr.  Paton  Ker  in  1888  in  a  steeplechase, 
which  paid  $700.  In  1903  Bugler,  ridden  by  Stony 
Wall — the  last  ride  he  had — got  in  front  on  a  muddy 
course  and  won,  paying  $427,  but  curiously  enough 
only  $8  for  a  place,  which  showed  lack  of  the  gamblers' 
risk  on  the  part  of  his  supporters.  Postman,  Noel 
Trotter's  griffin,  paid  over  $400  if  memory  serves. 
Maninga  in  1908  paid  $221.  Bargee  in  1904  paid 
$157  and  $70  for  place.  The  Monk  in  1912  paid  $321, 
and  Diddle,  in  1916,  justified  his  name  by  returning 
$291.  Generally  these  heavy  dividends  do  not  come 
often,  and  seem  to  be  less  frequent  now  than  they  were. 

Back  in  the  1904  period  the  old  stables  and  buildings 


were  rebuilt,  the  present  new  tote  and  stand  being 
put  up  in  1910.  A  Calcutta  visitor  in  1901  recorded 
that  Singapore  had  a  better  starting  machine  than 
Calcutta,  "  a  most  excellent  one,  the  invention  of  a 
local  engineer."  This  inventor  was  D.  D.  Mackie. 
The  first  place  tote  was  a  small  attap  -  roofed  shed, 
near  where  the  Secretary's  office  is  now,  and  in  those 
days  sometimes  under  $5  was  paid  out  to  a  winner, 
a  habit  which  has  since  been  corrected  ;  but  it  is  notable 
that  dividends  then  included  the  half-dollar,  which 
they  do  not  now.  About  this  period  the  Secretary 
w^as  put  on  a  fixed  salary,  and  other  organisation  changes 
were  made.  There  was  a  curious  outbreak  of  sickness 
in  Abrams's  stables,  which  caused  the  deaths  of  several 
good  racers,  and  materially  affected  the  success  of  the 
meeting  at  the  time. 

There  was  a  pretty  good  lot  of  horses  running  about 
this  period :  Essington,  The  Idler,  Pawnbroker,  Sir 
Launcelot,  Sweet  Erina,  Cadenas,  and  others,  and 
Mr.  Bratt,  who  was  handicapper,  had  an  interesting 
time.  There  will  always  be  differing  opinions  about 
handicapping,  but  on  the  whole  probably  E.  H.  Bratt 
was  the  best  handicapper  in  the  last  twenty  years.  He 
combined  the  two  qualities  of  an  appreciation  of  book 
form  and  an  ability  to  mix  with  the  boys  and  to  separate 
the  grain  from  the  chaff  in  their  conversation.  In 
other  times  the  handicapping  was  done  by  the  late 
C.  E.  Velge,  a  very  successful  handicapper  ;  but  possibly 
putting  a  little  too  much  trust  in  the  book  instead 
of  allowing  a  margin  for  the  human  element.  Then 
there  was  later  a  committee  of  three  which  did  fairly 
well.  The  Club,  however,  never  rose  to  the  ingenious 
suggestion  of  a  racing  man  that  the  owners  should 
handicap  themselves,  that  is,  that  each  owner  should 
send  in  his  ideas  of  the  handicap,  and  the  average  should 
be  struck  for  each  horse.  It  was  in  this  period  that 
there  was  the  famous  Cadenas — Sweet  Erina  episode. 
There  were  four  horses  in  the  mile  and  a  half  race.  Sir 
Launcelot,    Pawnbroker,   Sweet    Erina,    and    Cadenas. 


Two  of  these,  Sir  Launcelot  and  Pawnbroker,  went 
off  by  themselves ;  the  other  two  never  started,  their 
riders  claiming  that  they  never  heard  the  starter's 
"go."  Sir  Launcelot,  ridden  by  Peerbux,  won. 
Kirwan  is  the  only  rider  in  that  race  still  here  ;  he  had 
the  mount  on  the  favourite,  Sweet  Erina.  Mr.  T. 
Sarkies,  the  proprietor  of  Raffles  Hotel,  was  the  owner 
of  the  two  left.  At  different  times  he  owned  many 
good  horses,  not  with  the  best  of  luck :  Sweet  Erina, 
Cadenas,  Gillo,  Bluejacket,  Portfire,  and  Blunderer, 
and  for  many  years  was  a  strong  supporter  of  the  game  ; 
so  that  Raffles  Hotel  on  Saturday  night  of  race  week 
always  saw  a  merry  and  sometimes  slightly  riotous 
crowd  at  dinner. 

The  period  about  1905  was  Essington's  great  time, 
and  Bryans,  who  rode  him  invariably,  and  who  was 
one  of  the  straightest  and  best  riders  we  have  ever 
had,  once  pulled  him  up  at  the  wrong  post,  with  the 
result  that  Chestermere  shot  past  him  and  won,  much 
to  the  general  indignation.  This  followed  on  several 
previous  mistakes  due  to  the  system  of  having  different 
finishing  -  posts  for  different  distances,  and  although 
a  movable  judge's  box  on  rails  was  later  adopted,  the 
disadvantages  were  so  patent  that  eventually  the 
winning  post  was  fixed,  and  the  race  distances  altered 
where  necessary. 

In  1905  perhaps  the  most  notable  event  in  its  way 
was  that  the  Tanjong  Pagar  Dock  Court  of  Arbitration, 
which  was  sitting  during  the  race  meeting,  refused  to 
suspend  work  for  the  afternoon,  a  shock  to  the  holiday- 
making  susceptibilities  of  Singapore,  which  caused 
many  sarcastic  comments.  As  showing  the  over- 
powering excellence  of  that  great  horse  Essington,  he 
won  in  a  field  of  five  and  only  paid  $8.  Essington  was 
raced  by  the  Bridge  Kongsee,  which  with  the  Name- 
less Kongsee  and  the  Scots  Kongsee  were  probably,  in 
recent  times,  the  most  noted  of  racing  confederations. 
The  next  year  saw  the  win  of  Acetine  in  the  Governor's 
Cup,   carrying   the   well-known   colours   of  that   very 


popular  owner,  Mr.  Payne  Gallwey ;  whilst  the  May 
meeting  saw  Excise  win  one  of  many  races  to  the  credit 
of  W.  W.  Bailey,  one  of  the  most  genial  of  racing  men 
here,  who  subsequently  won  great  races  on  the  English 
and  Irish  turf.  Petgrave  was  a  griffin  in  this  year, 
raced  by  D.  P.  MacDougall.  This  was  one  of  the  best 
griffins  Singapore  has  had,  and  in  his  first  race  he 
beat  the  much-fancied  Sextant,  owned  by  J.  Graham 
and  H.  Fort.  Sir  Hugh  Fort,  one  of  the  strongest 
supporters  of  racing  in  the  Straits,  and  one  with  a  very 
keen  knowledge  of  form,  had  several  good  griffins  in 
his  time.  He  had  the  habit  of  being  concerned  in 
two,  and  naming  them  somewhat  similarly.  Thus 
Sextant  was  partnered  by  Sexton,  and  at  another 
time  Hexagon  by  Hexameter.  It  was  Sir  Hugh 
also  who  played  the  trick  on  pronunciators — if  one 
may  call  them  such — by  naming  another  griffin  he 
had  Poluphloisboio.  The  poor  thing  could  do  nothing 
under  such  a  name ;  but  it  is  noticeable  that,  on  the 
whole,  horses  have  been  considerately  named  in  the 
Straits.  There  was  the  famous  Trypanosomiasis  (which 
the  bookies  later  turned  into  Tripe  and  Onions),  and 
there  was  one  many  years  before  called  Soepgroentoen, 
and  there  were  names  like  Motor  Car  and  Motor  Cycle, 
and  Income  and  Tax,  the  latter  not  so  bad,  and  all 
the  more  appropriate  in  that  an  honourable  member 
of  Council,  who  had  fiercely  opposed  the  income-tax, 
took  one  of  the  few  tickets  he  ever  took  at  race  meetings 
on  Income  and  won  the  place,  but  lost  on  Tax  1 

On  the  whole  Singapore  has  not  had  many  good 
griffins,  a  great  contrast  to  Penang,  which  has  turned 
out  some  very  fine  ones.  It  is  necessary  only  to  mention 
in  recent  times  such  as  Lossie,  Chanticleer,  Lodestar — 
probably  with  Storey,  the  best  machine  galloper  the 
Straits  has  seen,  Wellington,  The  Gay  Gordon,  St. 
Albans,  Seronok — nothing  much  to  look  at,  but  one 
of  the  best  horses  George  Redfern  has  had  under  him 
in  this  country,  Sador,  and  at  the  present  time  Black 
Watch,   a    great  performer.     Amongst    pony  griffins, 


probably  the  best  that  has  been  here  was  Brown  Comet, 
who  won  over  all  distances  under  the  heaviest  imposts, 
and  was  one  of  the  few  ponies  or  galloways  that  ever 
raced  well  with  horses,  although  in  later  times  Prince 
Mimer  (not  a  pony  griffin)  did  so. 

1907  saw  the  unhappy  Lady  Brockleigh — Jim  Gosper 
incident,  in  which  the  public  very  seriously  differed 
from  the  judge's  decision.  Rosemead  (Castro)  and  Rapid 
Pilgrim  were  at  this  time  disputing  for  premier  honours. 
Rosemead,  like  Lady  Brockleigh,  Chanteuse,  Pawn- 
broker, and  others,  was  Java-owned,  and  in  those  years 
Java  used  to  send  up  a  useful  contingent  to  Singapore. 
Lady  Brockleigh  went  to  stud  in  Java,  and  her  progeny 
has  won  races  there.  In  this  year  there  was  also  the 
incident  of  Madame  Meg,  when  the  horse  and  rider's 
name  wxre  hoisted  in  the  frame  ;  the  horse  was  heavily 
backed,  but  did  not  turn  up  at  the  starting-post,  the 
sais  being  reported  to  "  have  forgotten  to  bring  her." 
There  was  great  indignation,  but,  of  course,  no  remedy. 

The  year  1908  was  notable  for  the  reappearance 
of  His  Highness  the  Sultan  of  Johore  as  a  race-horse 
owner.  The  reappearance  was  to  some  purpose,  for 
he  purchased  that  fine  horse  Durbar,  brought  up  by 
Mr.  Nicholas,  which,  arriving  in  beautiful  condition, 
easily  annexed  the  Derby,  run  then  over  a  mile  and  a 
half  at  9  St.,  with  87  for  mares,  and  put  up  what  has  ever 
since  been  the  Singapore  record  of  2  min.  41  f  sees. 
Ross  had  the  mount,  and  it  was  only  one  of  many  famous 
victories  of  this  fine  rider,  who  could  win  more  cleverly 
at  his  best  than  any  other  jockey  we  have  had  here. 
It  will  interest  those  who  were  concerned  in  the  recent 
I.C.U.  case  to  note  that  an  I.C.U.  ran  at  this  meeting, 
and  was  recorded  to  have  "  caused  trouble."  Mr. 
Payne  Gallwey  was  Chairman  of  the  Club  at  this  period. 
He  was  followed  later  by  Hugh  Fort,  E.  C.  Ellis,  A.  D. 
Allan,  down  to  Ellis  again,  and  A.  Agnew  and  G.  U. 
Farrant  at  the  present  time.  This  period  saw  Bryans 
at  the  hey-day  of  his  riding,  with  Vic.  Southall  a  close 
second,  and  Duval  well  up,  Mr.  Noel  Walker,  who  died 


recently  as  the  result  of  an  accident  when  riding,  heading 
the  amateur  jockeys'  Hst.  Two  years  previously 
Vic.  Southall  had  ridden  seven  winners  out  of  nine 
in  one  day  at  Kuala  Lumpur,  a  record  not  since  beaten. 

In  1 910,  amongst  new  horses  imported  came  Phono- 
graph, who  on  the  whole  was  probably  the  quickest 
horse  out  of  a  gate  ever  seen  here.  He  won  a  good 
many  useful  races. 

The  period  from  1 9 1 1  saw  a  number  of  good  horses 
imported  and  raced.  The  Sultan  of  Johore  had  Storey 
and  Silver  Hampton,  "  Mr.  Amber  "  had  Crown  Derby 
and  Royal  Blue  (Glorify  came  up  later).  The  Colonel 
and  The  Friar  were  so  useful  a  racing  pair  that  it  used 
to  be  deemed  money  from  home  to  buy  them  in  the 
lotteries  at  any  meeting.  The  Friar  was  very  fast 
over  the  short  distance,  and  a  powerful,  upstanding 
racer  with  plenty  of  spirit,  but  no  liking  for  heavy  going. 
The  increased  interest  which  was  thus  evoked  was 
stimulated  by  the  invasion  of  the  bookmakers.  Arriving 
first  in  spies  about  1 9 1 1 ,  they  rapidly  increased  to  bat- 
talions, and,  thanks  to  the  airing  of  personal  quarrels 
in  the  Courts,  made  such  a  noise  that  the  attention  of 
the  Government  was  directed  to  their  doings.  The 
Racing  Club  refused  to  take  the  responsibility  of  con- 
trolling them  or  of  asking  for  powers  to  control  them, 
so  that  eventually  a  Betting  Bill  was  brought  in,  coming 
into  effect  in  191 3,  and  closing  the  career  of  the  book- 
makers. A  curious  fact  about  the  Bill  was  that  the 
first  draft,  or  reported  draft,  was  pubUshed  in  the 
Perak  Pioneer y  a  small  paper  then  just  dying  out  in 

Next  year,  191 2,  saw  a  grey  EngHsh  mare,  Skirmish, 
a  very  nice  type  of  racer,  spread-eagle  her  field  over 
R.C.  in  most  extraordinary  fashion,  winning  in  the  then 
record  of  i  min.  50I  sees.,  a  time  equalled  later  by 
Azurite,  and  subsequently  just  beaten  in  191 8  by  Golden 
Rock.  Skirmish  was  one  of  a  batch  of  three  Enghsh 
horses  imported  by  C.  W.  Abrams,  the  other  two  being 
Master  Thorpe  and  Thora,  two  Irish  racers.     Neither 


of  the  latter  ever  did  anything.  C.  W.  Abrams  has  made 
several  attempts  to  popularise  English  horses,  and  later 
got  out  Flighterand  Surge ;  but  generally  bad  luck  seemed 
to  attend  these  efforts,  though  English  horses  now  are 
steadily  disputing  popularity  with  Australian  in  Eastern 
racing.  Belbeck,  who  came  to  Malaya  from  Australia 
and  ran  one  or  two  smart  races,  came  from  England, 
being  of  the  Troutbeck  line ;  but  generally  success  has 
not  followed  English  importations.  This  year  also  saw 
one  of  the  biggest  griffin  upsets,  when  Ross  on  The  Nun 
got  clear  away  from  the  field  on  the  favourite  and  was 
beaten  at  the  post  by  The  Monk,  ridden  by  Benfield, 
which  paid  a  dividend  of  $321. 

Since  the  War  there  has  not  been  much  movement  in 
racing  matters.  Difficulties  of  importation  and  reluc- 
tance to  spend  money  have  prevented  many  new-comers, 
though  there  have  been  some  good  ones,  of  whom  Highgate 
and  Golden  Mead  are  now  attracting  attention,  whilst 
the  Scots  Kongsee  has  Black  Watch  running,  probably 
as  good  a  horse  as  the  Straits  has  seen.  The  Club,  in 
fact,  went  on  the  principle  of  carrying  on  racing  simply 
in  order  to  give  what  it  could  to  war  funds  and  to  keep 
the  sport  together  for  better  times.  It  is  only  necessary 
to  say  that  in  191 8  the  Chairman  was  able  to  report  the 
Club  had  directly  given  $78,060  to  such  funds,  and  had 
indirectly,  by  promoting  lotteries,  etc.,  assisted  in  giving 
$198,000,  to  realise  the  success  of  the  pohcy.  Nor  were 
the  boys  backward  in  doing  their  duty,  for  Woodgate 
and  Benfield  are  only  two  of  many  who  used  to  ride  here 
who  joined  up  in  Australia,  and  in  some  cases  made  the 
supreme  sacrifice  or  returned  sadly  mangled  from  the 

Any  notice  of  racing  in  Singapore  would  be  incomplete 
without  reference  to  one  of  the  oldest  followers  of  the 
game  who  is  still  here,  G.  P.  Owen.  He  has  been 
Secretary  of  the  Club  so  long  that,  save  to  the  older 
generation,  his  first  connection  with  it  is  not  remembered. 
As  in  the  case  of  the  Cricket  Club,  he  has  been  an  un- 
3urpassed  official,  carrying  out  the  difficult  duties  of  his 


post  with  a  success  which  has  won  from  all,  whether 
members,  trainers,  owners,  or  jockeys,  sincere  respect 
and  admiration. 

In  the  early  'Nineties,  when. the  tin-mining  industry 
was  bringing  money  in  to  the  F.M.S. — by  the  way,  $30 
a  pikul  was  considered  high  in  those  days — the  Sungei 
Ujong  community,  at  all  times  a  sporting  lot,  headed  by 
Dr.  Braddon,  founded  their  Race  Club.  The  Doctor, 
assisted  by  W.  Dunman,  laid  out  the  course ;  being 
mathematically  correct,  no  race  track  in  the  Straits  up 
to  then  had  the  bends  done  in  such  a  manner,  and  we 
were  proud  of  our  course.  During  this  work  a  contro- 
versy arose  between  the  two  Braddons,  Abang  and  Adek, 
as  they  were  known,  the  former  contesting  that  a  man 
with  a  knowledge  of  axe- work  could  compete  with  the 
Malay  with  his  parang  and  bliong.  We, of  course,scorned 
such  an  idea,  and  the  result  was  a  match  between  Abang 
and  a  Malay  to  cut  a  small  area  of  bluker  in  the  inside 
of  the  course.  The  following  morning  proceedings 
started;  Abang,  at  the  word  ''go,"  went  at  it  with  an 
axe  for  all  he  was  worth.  The  Malay,  on  the  other  hand, 
squatted  on  his  haunches  and  smoked  a  couple  of  cigar- 
ettes, quietly  looking  on  at  the  other  competitor.  He 
then  used  his  parang,  laying  each  branch  methodically 
in  line  in  the  customary  way.  After  a  bit  Braddon  got 
into  a  nest  of  keringas  (red  ants),  which  caused  him  some 
trouble  and  delay,  and  the  air  was  thick  with  horrible 
language.  I  do  not  think  he  took  advice  from  us 
leaning  over  the  rails  as  kindly  as  it  was  meant.  He 
pluckily  fought  the  keringas,  only  a  little  later  to  disap- 
pear down  a  disused  well,  from  which  we  had  to  ex- 
tricate him,  and  then  Abang  decided  that  the  conditions 
of  the  contest  were  not  good  enough. 

It  was,  I  think,  in  1894  when  Abrams  was  asked  to 
come  up  as  starter,and  incidentally  to  make  things  cheery 
generally.  It  was  a  great  meeting.  George  Gum- 
ming had  a  particularly  fine  black  horse,  which  simply 
II — 24 


ran  away  with  all  his  races.  As  the  meeting  was  held 
under  the  Racing  Association  rules,  the  top  weight  was 
limited  to  1 1  st.  7  lbs.  To  make  a  race,  however,  Gum- 
ming was  asked  to  waive  this  point  and  allow  the  handi- 
cappers  to  break  the  rule.  Like  the  good  sportsman  he 
was,  he  at  once  agreed,  and  turning  round  asked  Abrams 
to  ride,  which,  after  some  demur,  the  old  jockey  accepted. 
No  colours  were  found  large  enough  till  they  were  split 
up  the  back,  and  he  weighed  out  at  something  like  1 3  st. 
7  lbs.  The  other  riders  were  all  professionals,  and  during 
the  race  each  had  a  cut  at  the  old  man,  who,  however, 
shook  them  off  one  by  one.  Fiddes  was  leading  well 
down  the  straight,  and  there  was  a  good  race,  ending  in 
Abrams  winning  by  a  length — a  great  performance, 
seeing  it  was  many  years  since  he  had  ridden  in  a  race. 
Daddy  was  utterly  exhausted,  and  had  to  be  lifted  off 
the  horse.  He  weighed  in  all  right,  and  was  very  proud 
of  his  popular  win,  and  more  than  once  have  I  heard  him 
relating  the  details  of  his  last  race. 

The  first  course  in  Seremban  was  of  a  horseshoe 
shape,  round  the  hill  on  which  the  church  and  cemetery 
now  are,  and  in  consequence  nothing  could  be  seen  of 
the  race  beyond  the  last  200  yards.  In  spite  of  this  the 
gymkhanas  held  there  were  distinctly  sporting.  The 
Jelebu  men  would  bring  down  their  contingent  of  ponies, 
and  were  keen  on  taking  back  the  prizes  of  the  meetings, 
of  which,  as  a  rule,  they  had  a  full  share.  W.  W.  Douglas 
was  Clerk  of  the  Course.  In  later  years  he  was  official 
handicapper  for  the  Straits  Racing  Association.  W. 
Dunman  was  then  ( 1 890-93)  up  in  Jelebu,  and  did  a  good 
deal  of  riding.  In  1891  he  got  over  from  Sydney  a 
mare,  Guelph,  which  he  managed  to  train  on  the  Jelebu 
roads,  the  only  possible  way  of  getting  it  into  condition, 
together  with  a  lot  of  hacking.  This  mare,  under  the 
name  of  Nasib,  ran  in  Kuala  Lumpur  unsuccessfully  in 
1 892.  She  was  then  put  into  work  for  the  autumn  meet- 
ing in  Singapore,  and  was  sent  to  Captain  Collinson,  of 
the  good  old  58th  Northamptons,  for  a  wind-up.  A  trial 
was  arranged  over  a  i  J-mile  course,  with  Allen  "  Jahat " 


H.  360] 


up.  Sugden's  Surprise,  the  previous  year's  Derby 
winner,  was  in  the  trial,  which  was  witnessed  by  Abrams 
and  ColHnson.  Allen,  who  was  scarcely  a  race  rider,  was 
left  at  the  post — by  some  eight  lengths — and  Collinson 
seemed  to  be  the  only  one  to  notice  that  he,  if  anything, 
picked  up  slightly  at  the  finish.  Knowing  the  mare  to 
be  a  good  stayer,  Dunman  entered  her  for  the  Derby, 
and  was  much  amused  at  the  remarks  in  "  Doncaster's  " 
sporting  articles,  when  the  writer  suggested  it  was  a 
pity  owners  new  to  the  game  did  not  get  advice  as  to 
entering  their  horses.  Nasib  was  termed  a  lady's  hack, 
and  in  place  of  the  Derby  should  have  been  entered  in 
the  third-class  races.  Dunman's  capabilities  as  a  rider 
were  unknown  locally,  but  some  Bank  men  en  route  for 
Hongkong,  knowing  his  successes  with  the  China  ponies, 
backed  his  mounts  throughout  the  meeting,  and  did  well. 
In  the  Derby  Nasib  got  a  7  lb.  allowance  for  having 
run  without  a  win,  Dunman  getting  also  the  7  lb.  allow- 
ance as  a  gentleman  rider,  and  he  was  just  able  to  weigh 
out  at  9  St.  7  lb. ;  all  the  others  were  professionals. 
Coming  down  the  straight  Surprise  and  another  were 
leading  neck  and  neck,  thinking  they  had  the  race  to 
themselves,  when  Dunman  brought  Nasib  along  outside, 
winning  comfortably.  Abrams 's  look  of  astonishment 
was  a  picture,  he  having  been  present  at  the  trial  ;  but 
then  poor  old  Daddy  never  was  any  good  at  picking  out 
winners,  an  extraordinary  fact  seeing  he  was  a  clever 
rider,  and  as  a  trainer  always  brought  his  horses  to  the 
post  in  perfect  condition.  Only  on  two  occasions  in 
the  annals  of  Straits  racing  has  the  Derby  been  won  with 
the  "  owner  up,"  the  year  previously  the  winner  being 
Surprise,  with  Sugden,  as  owner,  riding.  On  the  Mon- 
day after  the  races  Nasib  was  driven  down  to  Little's  in 
a  dog-cart,  which  certainly  was  a  unique  experience  for 
a  Derby  winner,  and  will  as  certainly  never  be  repeated, 


Motor-cars  have  very  little  to  do  with  "  a  hundred 
years  ago/'    and  the  history  of  them  in  Singapore  is 


comparatively  modern.  It  would  appear  that  in  the 
year  1896  the  first  "  auto-car  "  was  imported  by  Katz 
Bros.,  representing  Benz  et  Cie.,  who  dealt  in  what  were 
then  described  as  * '  motor  velocipedes. ' '  This  car  became 
the  property  of  Mr.  C.  B.  Buckley,  and  was  used  by  him 
for  many  years,  being  familiarly  known  as  the  "  coffee 
machine."  The  number  of  cars  gradually  increased 
each  year,  but  it  was  not  until  1907  that  steps  were  taken 
to  deal  with  the  question  of  organisation.  There  was 
no  definite  law  in  force,  and  cars  were  to  be  seen  bearing 
all  sorts  and  conditions  of  numbers  and  lettering  which 
had  been  in  use  by  owners  in  other  parts  of  the  world. 
In  March  1908  was  started  a  monthly  paper  called  the 
Motor  Car  and  Athletic  Journal^  but  it  came  to  a  sudden 
end  with  its  twelfth  number.  From  it  we  gather  that 
at  the  time  of  its  first  issue  there  were  214  people  licensed 
to  drive  motor-cars,  motor-bicycles  and  steam-rollers  in 
Singapore.  About  March  1907  saw  the  formation  of 
the  Singapore  Automobile  Club,  with  H.E.  Sir  John 
Anderson,  K.C.M.G.,  as  President,  Sir  William  Taylor, 
K.C.M.G.,  Vice-President,  and  a  committee  consisting 
of  Hon.  Mr.  W.  J.  Napier,  E.  G.  Broadrick,  W.  A. 
Cuscaden,  Hon.  Dr.  Galloway,  K.  A.  Stevens,  and  J.  H. 
Garrett.  Mr.  K.  A.  Stevens  was  the  first  Hon.  Secretary, 
but  the  first  annual  report  is  signed  by  J.  H.  Garrett  as 
Hon.  Secretary  and  Treasurer,  when  the  membership  was 
fifty-six.  It  is  interesting  to  read  in  the  report  :  "  This 
is  a  suitable  opportunity  to  carefully  consider  the  future 
of  the  Club,  as  it  must  be  admitted  that  so  far  the  Club 
has  not  been  as  active  as  members  would  naturally  wish." 
A  report  was  issued  for  1909,  signed  by  Evelyn  C.  Ellis 
and  C.  I.  Carver  as  members  of  the  Committee ;  but  the 
affairs  of  the  Club  were  in  abeyance  until  191 1,  when 
Mr.  W.  A.  Sims  examined  the  records  and  revived  the 
Club.  He  has  remained  the  Hon.  Secretary  and  Treas- 
urer since  then,  with  one  interval,  when  Mr.  W.  Lowther 
Kemp  took  over  the  duties. 

The  purposes  for  which  the  Club  was  started  were  not 
at  first   correctly  understood,  and   attempts   at   social 


"  runs  "  and  "  outings  "  were  not  likely  to  be  success- 
ful in  a  place  like  Singapore.  A  more  correct  name  for 
it  would  probably  have  been  "  association  "  or  "  union  " 
rather  than  club,  as  it  takes  an  active  interest  in  all 
matters  affecting  the  interests  of  motor-car  owners,  but 
has  discontinued  any  attempts  to  form  club  life.  The 
report  for  191 8  showed  a  membership  of  116.  A  year 
book  issued  by  the  Club  is  a  useful  record  of  work  done, 
and  from  it  are  taken  the  following  particulars  of  motor 
vehicles  in  Singapore : 

1913   .  .        535  cars         92  cycles       35  commercial 

1918  .  .     1,317     „         440        „         46  „ 

Legislation  was  passed  in  191 1  "to  regulate  the  use 
on  public  thoroughfares  of  traction  engines  and  carriages 
attached  thereto,  and  motor-cars,"  and  the  Ordinance, 
known  as  No.  XIX  of  191 1,  with  various  amendments, 
remains  in  force.  The  conditions  of  traffic  in  the  island 
have  so  materially  altered  with  the  coming  of  the  motor- 
car that  it  has  been  found  necessary  to  establish  a 
special  department  of  police  to  deal  with  them,  and  the 
Traffic  Inspector  (Mr.  Hills)  has  done  much  good  work. 

Life  generally  in  the  island  has  been  improved  by 
the  facilities  afforded  by  motor-cars,  and  country  and 
distant  sea-side  bungalows  have  sprung  up  at  various 
points.  Until  a  road  is  built  linking  up  Johore  with  the 
Federated  Malay  States  it  will  not  be  possible  to  take 
long-distance  runs,  and  cars  are  unable  to  leave  the 
island  without  the  aid  of  steamer  or  railway. 

Mr.  Buckley  bought  his  car,  a  second-  or  third-hand 
old-fashioned  Benz,  in  London  for  sixteen  pounds  ! 
It  had  some  curious  peculiarities  :  absolutely  refused 
to  go  up  any  hill  without  being  pushed  up  by  the  un- 
fortunate driver,  and  could  be  started  only  by  turning 
the  large  flywheel  at  the  back  of  the  car  by  hand  ! 
So  Mr.  Buckley  used  to  keep  an  old  pair  of  gloves  under 
the  seat  for  the  purpose  ;  it  was  also  necessary  to  put 
about  a  teaspoonful  of  petrol  into  the  carburettor  and 
light  it  with  a  match  to  warm  it  up  !  The  steering  was 
by  a  lever  turned  right  and  left,  and  was  raised  or 


lowered  for  high  or  low  speed.  Mr.  Buckley  used  to 
say :  ''  Of  course  it's  only  a  toy,  no  use,  no  use  at  all." 
As  he  had  no  man  to  look  after  it,  it  was  hardly  ever 
cleaned,  and  the  only  wonder  was  that  it  ever  went 
at  all  and  that  he  was  not  blown  up !  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  he  burnt  his  hand  badly  one  day  when  trying 
to  start  it.  There  were  then  only  two  other  cars  in 
Singapore,  an  Albion  and  a  De  Dion  Bouton,  both 
fearfully  noisy  ;  so  much  so  that  horns  were  quite 
unnecessary,  as  you  could  hear  them  a  good  quarter 
of  a  mile  off ! 

Mrs.  G.  M.  Dare  (now  Mrs.  G.  P.  Owen)  was  the  first 
lady  motorist  in  Singapore,  and  her  first  car  was  a  12-h.p. 
two-cylinder  Star.  As  there  were  no  motor  garages 
in  those  days,  it  was  necessary  to  know  all  about  the 
machinery  and  do  your  own  repairs,  oiling,  and  ad- 
justing, and  put  on  your  own  t5n*es  (in  case  of  a  puncture 
on  the  road,  probably  in  your  best  clothes  !  ) — no 
easy  detachable  rims  or  Stepney  wheel,  but  really 
hard  work,  and,  of  course,  there  were  no  trained  drivers. 

The  first  Malay  chauffeur  to  obtain  his  driving  licence 
(Hassan  bin  Mohamed)  was  taught  by  Mrs.  Dare.  She 
sold  the  Star  on  going  to  Europe  the  following  year, 
and  brought  out  two  Adams  cars,  a  lo-h.p.  single- 
cylinder  brougham  and  a  lo-h.p.  single-cylinder  two- 
seater  "  runabout."  Cars  had  no  registration  numbers 
till  1906,  and  this  small  car  obtained  the  distinction 
of  the  first  registration  number,  S. i.,  and  was  named 
"  Ichiban  "  (Japanese  for  "  Number  One  ")  with  all  due 
honours  !  This  car  is  now  quite  a  veteran,  and  is  still 
"  going  strong  "  (like  Johnny  Walker),  after  having  been 
driven  by  the  owner  over  69,400  miles  in  Singapore,  the 
Malay  Peninsula,  Java,  England,  and  Scotland.  The 
natives  in  the  F.M.S.  used  to  call  it  the  "  Devil  wind 
carriage,"  and  were  amazed  at  seeing  a  lady  at  the 
wheel.  Mrs.  Dare  took  it  home  with  her  in  1908,  and 
had  a  detachable  back  fitted  by  the  makers  at  Bedford, 
so  that  it  can  be  used  as  either  a  two-  or  four-seater. 

The  first   meet   of  the   Singapore  Automobile   Club 


MRS.    DARE    (MRS.    G.    P.    OWEN)    WITH   MR.   DARE  IN  S.l. 

n.  364] 


took  place  at  Tyersall  in  June  1907,  and  cars  of  all 
descriptions  congregated  there,  from  H.H.  the  Sultan 
of  Johore's  70-h.p.  "  Mercedes  "  to  Mr.  Buckley's  5-h.p. 
"  coffee  machine,"  as  it  was  nicknamed.  The  second 
lady  to  take  up  motoring  was  Mrs.  (afterwards  Lady) 
Napier  ;  and  now,  of  course,  there  are  numbers  of 
"  chaff  curettes."  The  present-day  cars  are  so  easy 
to  drive  and  so  reliable  that  people  feel  quite  aggrieved 
if  any  little  trifle  goes  wrong  in  hundreds  of  miles, 
whereas  in  the  old  days  you  thought  yourself  lucky 
to  get  to  your  destination  without  several  stoppages 
en  route  !  But  that  was  always  an  element  of  uncertainty 
and  adventure,  which  was  exciting. 

The  Singapore  Recreation  Club 

This  institution  was  founded  on  the  23rd  June  1 883,  at 
a  meeting  held  for  the  purpose  of  starting  a  Cricket 
Club,  at  which  the  following  gentlemen  were  present, 
viz. :  Messrs.  J.  R.  McFarlane  (Chairman),  W.  Clarke, 

A.  W.  Clarke,  J.  Ganno,  C.  V.  Norris,  G.  F.  de  Silva, 

B.  E.  d'Aranjo,  J.  Ashness,  and  A.  B.  Bodestyne. 

The  first  officers  and  members  of  committee  were  : 
President,  J.  R.  McFarlane  ;  Secretary,  B.  E. 
d'Aranjo  ;  Treasurer,  C.  V.  Norris  ;  Captain,  A.  W. 
Clarke  ;  Members  of  Committee  :  F.  Clarke,  J.  Ganno, 
and  J.  D.  Stuart.  The  subscription  was  fixed  at  $1 
per  mensem  and  the  entrance  fee  $2,  and  the  Club  was 
to   be   called   the   "  Singapore    Recreation   Club." 

Mr.  (now  Sir  Ernest)  Birch  took  a  keen  interest  in 
the  formation  of  the  Club,  and  gave  valuable  advice 
when  rules  were  being  framed.  The  original  number 
of  members  is  not  on  record,  but  the  first  patrons  were 
Major  (afterwards  Sir  Henry)  McCallum,  the  Hon.  W.  H. 
Read,  and  Mr.  (now  Sir  John)  Anderson,  of  Guthrie 
and  Co. 

Cricket  was  started  on  the  lower  end  of  the  old 
Esplanade,  the  use  of  which  by  the  Club  was  sanctioned 
by  Government  in  July  1883,  and  lawn  tennis  was 
introduced   in    January    1884.     Quoits   was   a   feature 


in  the  early  days  of  the  Club,  but  gradually  died  off. 
Association  football  was  not  played  until  the  early 
'Nineties,  while  hockey  was  started  only  in  recent  years. 

In  March  1884  it  was  decided  to  approach  the  Govern- 
ment for  permission  to  erect  a  pavilion,  and  a  deputation, 
consisting  of  Messrs.  McFarlane,  Leicester,  and  d'Aranjo, 
was  appointed  to  wait  on  the  Colonial  Secretary  for 
this  purpose.  Government  sanction  was  granted  on  the 
25th  March  1884,  in  a  letter  from  the  Honourable  the 
late  Sir  Cecil  Clementi  Smith,  the  Colonial  Secretary 
at  the  time,  who  stated,  in  the  concluding  paragraph 
of  his  letter,  that  His  Excellency  the  Governor  was 
glad  to  encourage  the  Recreation  Club  in  the  interests 
of  the  Eurasian  community.  The  Government  very 
kindly  gave  a  sum  of  $200  for  the  returfing  of  the  ground, 
at  the  instance  of  Mr.  W.  H.  Read,  who  wrote  to  the 
Governor  asking  that  some  assistance  be  given  to 
the  Club.  The  pavilion  was  completed  in  November 
1885,  the  number  of  members  on  the  roll  being  then 

With  increasing  membership  it  was  found  necessary 
to  have  a  larger  pavilion,  and  the  present  one  was 
begun,  with  the  sanction  of  Government,  on  the  25  th 
August  1904,  when  the  foundation-stone  was  laid  by  the 
President,  Mr.  E.  Tessensohn.  The  new  building  was 
completed  on  the  8th  August  1905,  and  formally  opened 
on  the  2nd  September  in  the  same  year  by  his  Excellency 
the  Governor,  the  late  Sir  John  Anderson,  in  the  presence 
of  a  large  gathering  of  subscribers  and  friends.  The 
membership  had  by  then  increased  to  141.  Nearly 
all  the  local  firms  and  a  large  number  of  friends,  non- 
members,  subscribed  generously  towards  the  cost  of  the 
present  pavilion,  and  a  complete  list  of  the  subscribers 
is  kept  on  record  in  the  books  of  the  Club. 

The  first  athletic  sports  were  held  in  July  1886,  and 
the  first  cricket  match  played  outside  Singapore  was 
against  the  Malacca  Cricket  Club  in  1887.  Later  on, 
in  1 890,  the  Club  sent  a  team  to  play  against  the  Selangor 
Cricket  Club,  in  the  days  of  the  old  **  Spotted  Dog." 


The  Club,  although  purely  an  athletic  one,  is  recog- 
nised as  the  premier  Eurasian  Club  in  Singapore,  and 
during  the  Coronation  festivities  in  191 1  the  management 
of  the  ball  for  the  Eurasian  community  at  the  S.  V.  C.  Drill 
Hall  was  entrusted  by  the  Government  to  the  Club. 

The  present  membership  is  121,  the  subscription 
S2  per  mensem,  with  an  entrance  fee  of  $5,  and  the 
Club  colours  are  navy  blue  and  red. 


By  G.  P.  Owen,  Secretary  of  the  Singapore  Cricket  Club 
and  the  Singapore  Sporting  Club,  etc. 

On  the  island  of  Singapore  at  the  present  time  game 
consists  of  a  few  wild  pig  and  half-a-dozen  or  so  of  deer. 
The  extinction  of  these  is  only  the  question  of  a  few 
years,  for  Malays  and  Chinese  are  fast  reducing  their 
scanty  numbers.  How  very  different  from  the  days 
gone  by,  when  the  island  was  teeming  with  tiger,  deer 
(sambur,  Cervus  equinus),  and  pig  {Sus  cristatus)  in 
abundance,  with  the  kijang  (barking  deer,  Cervulus 
niuntjac),  of  which  but  few  now  remain.  The  crocodile 
{Crocodilus  porosus)  is  still  to  be  found  in  some  of  the 
rivers,  but  I  have  never  looked  upon  these  as  game. 
There  are  still  a  few  mouse  deer  (Trangulus  javanicus) 
and  porcupine  {Hystrix  longicauda),  and  they  are  dis- 
appearing in  consequence  of  trapping  by  natives. 
With  the  exception  of  a  few  migratory  species,  a  similar 
change  has  taken  place  in  the  bird-life.  From  time  to 
time,  according  to  the  monsoon  or  the  fruit  season, 
snipe  (Gallinago  gallinago),  green  pigeon  or  punai 
(Osmotreron  vernans),  and  pergam  (Carpophaga  CBnea) 
are  to  be  found,  but  in  very  reduced  numbers.  The 
change  in  the  fauna  has  resulted  from  the  introduction 
of  Hevea  brasiliensis ,  the  rubber  tree.  Before  the 
introduction  of  this  cultivation  there  were  many  miles 
of  virgin  forest,  providing  shelter,  food,  and  quiet  places 
for  bird  and  beast  to  breed.  All  the  forest,  original 
and  secondary,  has  given  place  to  rubber  plantations, 


mostly  clean  weeded,  alike  destitute  of  edible  seeds 
and  fruit,  and  of  insects.  A  similar  change  has  taken 
place  on  the  adjoining  islands  and  Peninsula  ;  so  if 
game  and  birds  survived  there,  in  reaching  Singapore 
they  would  have  to  run  the  gauntlet  of  acres  of  bare 
or  cultivated  land,  would  find  the  fruit  trees  mostly 
disappeared  and  the  swamps  drained,  leaving  a  desert 
land  for  pigeons  or  snipe.  Singapore  is  no  longer 
the  place  for  the  sportsman. 

It  has  not  always  been  so,  as  the  records  and  my  own 
recollection  bear  witness.  One  of  the  difficulties  in 
old  days  was  to  beat  the  jungle,  so  thick  and  expansive 
was  it,  and  such  a  perfect  stronghold  for  bird  and  beast. 
Of  course,  big  game  such  as  elephant  and  seladang  were 
never  established  in  the  island  itself,  but  they  were 
close  to  it,  on  the  mainland.  The  present  writer  and 
a  friend,  then  stationed  in  Singapore,  a  brother  of  a 
well-known  Admiral  of  the  Fleet,  left  the  town  on  one 
occasion  at  4.30  a.m.,  accomplished  the  fifteen  miles 
journey  to  Kranji,  crossed  the  Strait,  about  two  miles 
wide,  and  by  the  afternoon  of  the  following  day  had 
bagged  three  elephants. 

Though  the  island  is  but  twenty-six  miles  by  fifteen — 
about  the  size  of  the  Isle  of  Wight — there  have  always 
been  tigers  in  it,  the  most  formidable  of  game  to  hunt, 
as  done  here,  on  foot,  and  with  only  men  and  dogs  for 
beaters.  The  Malay  word  for  tiger,  harimau,  is  usually 
abbreviated  to  rimau,  and  I  have  often  thought  that 
if  the  place  had  been  called  Rimaupore  there  would 
have  been  more  reason  in  it  than  the  Singapore  (city 
of  the  lion).  This  would  also  have  disposed  of  the 
more  probable  derivation  of  Singapore  :  Singgah,  a 
calling-place,  and  pura,  a  city.  Certainly  no  lion  is 
ever  known  to  have  existed  in  Singapore  outside  the 
bars  of  a  menagerie  cage.  "  Rimaupore  "  would  have 
at  least  some  local  colouring,  for  from  the  earliest  days 
of  the  Settlement,  and  probably  for  centuries  before, 
tigers  have  abounded  in  the  densely  covered  jungles 
of  the  island,  separated   from  the  mainland   by  only 

11.  368] 

G,   P.    OWEN   WITH   HIS   FIRST   TIGER. 


two  miles  of  water,  in  which  are  many  small  islands 
as  resting-places,  and  abounding  in  pig,  deer,  etc.  That 
tigers  do  thus  cross  the  Straits,  and  have  done  so  quite 
recently,  is  amply  authenticated.  Cameron  mentions 
the  case  of  a  tiger  swimming  across  the  Strait  and  being 
caught  in  fishing-stakes.  Footprints  on  the  sandy 
shore  at  Changhie  were  quite  common  not  many  years 
ago,  and  the  following  incident  is  well  established.  A 
party  of  Malays  saw  a  tiger  crossing  from  Pulo  Obin 
in  the  direction  of  Changhie,  and  followed  him  in  their 
boat,  being  thus  at  a  considerable  advantage  in  getting 
this  formidable  animal  out  of  his  element.  They 
attacked  the  swimming  brute  with  their  formidable 
parangs  (native  knives),  also  using  their  oars,  and 
eventually  split  his  skull  open  and  towed  him  ashore 
to  the  beach.  Frequent  reference  is  made  to  "  the 
deplorable  ravages  committed  by  tigers  on  the  island," 
to  the  large  increase  in  their  numbers,  and  to  the  means 
to  be  adopted  for  their  destruction.  Cameron  is  re- 
sponsible for  the  statement  that  on  an  average  one  man 
per  day  fell  a  victim  to  the  tiger.  The  newspapers  of  the 
'Fifties  and  'Sixties  tell  of  Chinese  being  carried  off  within 
a  few  miles  of  the  town.  Mr.  Buckley,  in  his  interesting 
Anecdotal  History  of  Singapore,  says  that  the  first 
mention  of  tigers  is  in  the  Singapore  Chronicle  of  the 
8th  September  1831 — a  Chinaman  was  killed  by  a  tiger 
near  the  road  leading  to  New  Harbour,  and  another 
native  was  killed  shortly  afterwards  in  another  direc- 
tion, probably  by  the  same  tiger.  A  few  months  later 
a  tiger  was  seen  by  a  European  and  his  wife  crossing 
the  road  in  the  direction  of  New  Harbour.  Buckley 
writes  : 

''  It  must  be  remembered  that  in  1831  the  island 
was  a  dense  jungle  except  near  the  town,  and  there 
were  so  many  pig  and  deer  that  the  tigers  were  not 
likely  to  venture  near  human  habitations.  There  is 
no  reason  whatever  to  think  that  they  were  attracted 
by  human  beings  ;  and  as  httle  reason  to  think  that 
they  had  not  always  been  on  the  island,  swimming  across 


the  narrow  straits  from  Johore  in  search  of  pig  and  deer, 
as  they  do  to  this  day  "  (1902). 

There  was  a  theory  that  only  tigers  had  been  found 
on  the  island,  never  tigresses,  and  this  theory  was  firmly 
held  for  many  years.  There  was  no  record  of  the  female 
ever  having  been  trapped  or  shot;  but  within  quite  recent 
years  one  was  caught  in  a  pit  at  Bukit  Timah,  and  I 
myself  shot  one,  later  securing  one  of  the  cubs,  a  second 
cub  falling  to  a  spring-gun  set  by  a  Chinese  gambier 
planter.  These  incidents  clearly  upset  the  theor}'',  and 
doubtless  females  have  often  swum  to  the  island,  where 
there  was  abundance  of  cover  and  food  to  induce  them 
to  remain.  With  the  disappearance  of  jungle  and  swamp 
this  was  bound  to  change.  When  we  remember  that 
only  a  few  years, ago  many  square  miles  in  the  north 
of  the  island  were  dense  jungle,  bounded  by  two  roads 
running  parallel  at  a  considerable  distance  from  each 
other,  that  there  were  large  tracts  of  lovely  primitive 
jungle  in  the  Changhie  district,  with  only  a  few  native 
dwellings  here  and  there  and  occasional  plantations, 
where  the  owner  kept  pigs,  and  that  these  conditions 
applied  to  three-fourths  of  the  island,  one  can  only  come 
to  the  conclusion  that  it  was  an  ideal  home  for  a  tiger. 

How  one  got  to  love  that  beautiful  jungle  ! — a  perfect 
venue  for  the  sportsman  and  lover  of  nature,  with  the 
magnificent  trees  draped  with  their  own  foliage  and  that 
of  the  many  climbing  or  aerial  plants.  But  so  much 
has  been  written  by  Swettenham,  Clifford,  and  George 
Maxwell  on  the  beauties  of  the  jungle — of  which  Singa- 
pore had  its  fair  share — that  I  have  only  to  express  my 
deep  regret  that  it  has  all  gone,  never  to  be  replaced. 

The  secrets  of  the  jungle  were  not  obtained  without 
toil  and  sometimes  by  taking  risks.  Buckley,  when 
referring  to  shikaris,  says  "  only  bold  spirited  men  have 
been  successful  in  shooting  tigers  in  Singapore,  and  there 
have  not  been  many  of  them."  He  refers  to  Mr.  Carnie 
(1831),  who  found  shooting  tigers  more  remunerative 
than  being  in  the  police  force  ! — and  says  he  was  a  man 
of  great  pluck.    "  It  is  well  to  remark  that  tiger  shooting 


in  Singapore  is  a  very  different  thing  from  the  sport  in 
India,  where  the  sportsman  is  upon  the  back  of  an  ele- 
phant or  high  up  in  a  tree.  Here  it  is  much  more 
dangerous  and  adventurous  a  matter  ;  on  foot  and  in 
a  jungle,  face  to  face  at  a  moment's  notice  with  a  tiger." 
An  officer,  who  had  been  stationed  in  India,  and  had  had 
considerable  experience  in  tiger  shooting  according  to 
Indian  methods,  remarked  to  me,  after  a  day  or  two  in 
the  jungle  :  "  Fortunately  there  are  not  too  many  fools 
in  Singapore,  or  there  might  be  more  tiger  shooters." 
I  thought  the  remark  rather  unkind  at  the  moment,  but, 
on  thinking  it  over,  began  to  see  the  truth  that  lay 
behind  the  remark. 

In  addition  to  the  names  of  sportsmen  mentioned  in 
Buckley,  there  have  been  others,  one  in  particular, 
whose  name  must  always  remain  as  one  of  the  keenest 
of  sportsmen  and  best  of  rifle-shots,  T.  S.  Thomson.  His 
stay  in  Singapore  extended  to  fifty  years,  he  arriving  here 
at  the  age  of  twenty  and  not  leaving  it  till  he  was  nearly 
seventy  (arrived  in  1859).  During  most  of  his  time 
he  never  missed  an  opportunity  of  going  out,  and  his 
record  of  wild  boar  and  deer  must  far  exceed  all  others, 
as  well  as  his  elephant  and  seladang  experience  in  the 
Peninsula.  Curiously  enough,  Thomson  never  bagged  a 
tiger,  not  from  any  want  of  endeavour  or  for  want  of 
opportunity,  but  from  sheer  bad  luck,  and  it  was  a 
great  disappointment  to  him.  On  one  occasion  he 
and  I  went  out  together,  when  our  trackers  brought 
news  of  a  tiger  having  carried  off  a  Chinaman's  pig 
during  the  night  and  dragged  it  into  quite  a  small 
patch  of  jungle  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  away,  where 
he  was  lying  up  and  making  a  feast  of  the  carcase. 
The  patch  was  so  small  that  I  was  able  to  make  a 
ccniplete  examination  of  it  all  round.  On  one  side 
the  undergrowth  and  lallang  grass  had  been  burnt  off, 
leaving  the  ground  with  not  enough  cover  for  a  rat. 
I  arranged  the  beat  so  that  unless  the  brute  broke  back 
through  the  beaters  he  must  emerge  into  the  open 
ground,  and  placed  Thomson  about  thirty  yards  beyond 


the  open  space,  with  a  hundred  yards'  view  of  the  open 
ground,  myself  taking  up  a  position  in  the  thick  under- 
growth on  the  other  side  in  case  he  should  try  to  sneak 
away  under  cover.  The  head  beater  carried  out  the 
beat  as  arranged,  and  almost  immediately  the  tiger  came 
out  in  front  of  Thomson  and  stood  perfectly  still,  broad- 
side on,  with  nothing  between  him  and  a  '577  double- 
barrelled  Express  rifle  in  Thomson's  hands.  Thomson 
fired  and  missed,  and  the  tiger  went  back  into  the  jungle 
he  had  just  left.  As  the  beaters  came  on  again  he  broke 
cover  in  exactly  the  same  spot,  but  this  time  at  a  very 
slow  pace.  My  friend  again  fired  and  again  missed,  and 
the  tiger  broke  into  a  series  of  bounds,  still  across  the 
open  space.  A  second  barrel  was  fired  at  him,  but,  alas 
for  poor  Thomson,  another  miss  !  On  another  occasion 
my  friend  was  in  a  most  favourable  position,  when  a 
tiger  broke  cover  within  ten  yards  of  him,  and  he  had 
two  shots,  both  unsuccessful.  Why  the  bad  luck  should 
come  at  this  time  I  cannot  tell,  but  I  feel  sure  that  a  pig 
or  a  deer  would  not  have  got  off  under  the  circumstances. 

The  late  Captain  Collinson,  of  the  58th  Regiment,  who 
afterwards  became  Collinson  Bey,  of  the  Egyptian  Army, 
must  be  added  to  the  list  of  keen  sportsmen.  He  was  a 
handsome  fellow,  a  fine  man  and  a  soldier,  a  keen  sports- 
man, a  good  shot,  and  courageous  to  the  last  degree. 
Although  he  never  had  the  luck  to  bag  a  tiger  in  Singa- 
pore, he  created  a  record  for  Amoy  by  getting  three 
tigers  in  caves,  before  breakfast  in  one  morning,  under 
the  most  dangerous  circumstances. 

Another  of  my  shooting  companions,  whose  name  is 
also  mentioned  in  Buckley,  is  Mr.  Donald  Maw,  and  of 
all  my  shooting  chums  I  am  not  sure  that  anyone  came 
up  to  him  as  a  good  all-round  shot  and  sportsman.  He 
was  also  a  fine  target  shot,  but  as  he  is  still  in  Singapore 
he  might  not  like  me  to  say  all  about  him  that  I 

Although  many  animals  are  brought  down  under  the 
most  disadvantageous  and  almost  impossible  conditions, 
they  often  offer  ridiculousl}^  easy  chances,  and  it  is  the 


easy  ones,  as  in  poor  Thomson's  case,  that  are  often 
missed.  The  usual  method  in  tiger  shooting  is  to  put  in 
the  beaters  to  one  side,  with  the  guns,  on  foot,  placed 
in  the  most  favourable  position  obtainable  upon  the  side 
on  which  the  animal  is  expected  to  break.  Under 
these  conditions  Mr.  Maw  and  myself  have  accounted 
for  a  dozen  tigers  on  the  island.  Others  have  had  luck, 
too,  but  I  never  heard  of  one  of  them  with  more  than  a 
single  animal  to  his  credit.  Many  have  fallen  to  spring- 
guns  set  by  gambler  planters,  and  several  have  been 
caught  in  pits  or  traps. 

On  one  occasion  I  was  tempted  to  deviate  from  the 
usual  method  of  shooting  on  foot,  and  sat  up  in  a  tree  all 
night  to  get  a  shot,  as  under  the  circumstances  this  was 
the  only  way.  The  Changhie  jungle  was  much  too  big 
to  attempt  to  beat,  but  a  path  ran  through  it,  and  tigers 
had  been  seen  passing  through  it,  leaving  their  footprints. 
I  built  a  machan  in  a  tree  on  the  side  of  this  path  and 
tethered  a  goat  a  few  yards  distant,  knowing  that  the 
bleat  of  the  goat  would  attract  the  tiger  when  night  set 
in.  I  chose  a  bright,  moonlight  night  for  my  first  and 
only  attempt  at  night-firing  from  a  machan,  as  on 
ordinary  nights  the  pitch  darkness  of  the  jungle  makes  a 
shot  impossible.  My  head  tracker,  Kader,  was  with 
me,  a  fine  shikari,  who  knew  every  short  cut  in  the  jungle, 
and  when  there  were  no  paths  could  get  through  within 
a  short  distance  of  the  intended  place,  whereas  many  a 
man  would  only  end  in  getting  back  to  the  starting - 
place  or  crossing  his  own  tracks.  We  took  up  position 
about  5  p.m.,  and  kept  a  sharp  look-out  for  several  hours, 
the  moon  shining  brightly  along  the  path.  About 
midnight  I  began  to  get  weary  and  disappointed, 
having  made  up  my  mind  that  whatever  was  to  happen 
would  be  in  the  first  hours  of  the  night.  Suddenly  I 
saw  something  coming  down  the  path  from  the  Serangoon 
end,  and  prepared  for  a  shot.  I  grasped  my  rifle  and 
waited  until  the  object  should  approach  a  little  nearer, 
feeling  that  after  all  my  long  wait  was  to  be  rewarded. 
To  my  surprise,  instead  of  a  tiger  was  a  man,  wearing 

374  A  CENTURY  0^  SPORT 

only  a  loin  cloth  like  the  Tamils  wear,  but  with  a  piece 
of  looking-glass  five  or  six  inches  wide  embedded  in  his 
matted  hair,  which  gave  him  a  very  weird  appearance 
as  the  moon's  rays  shone  on  it.  Now  it  happened  that 
this  man  was  well  known  to  Kader  as  an  orang  kramaty 
or  holy  man.  Most  Malay  villages  have  these  men,  or 
know  of  them.  They  are  reverenced  and  generally 
invested  with  the  property  of  invulnerability,  and  many 
superstitions  hang  about  them.  Personally  I  think 
them  either  maniacs  or  impostors.  This  particular 
orang  kramat  was  supposed  to  be  dumb,  at  all  events 
no  one  had  ever  heard  him  speak.  I  looked  down  as 
he  halted  on  seeing  the  white  goat  tied  up,  and  asked  him 
in  Malay,  ''  Who  are  you  ?  "  The  surprise  was  too 
sudden  for  him,  and  he  replied,  "  It  is  I,  sir,"  and  with 
that  passed  along  the  path  out  of  view.  So  much  for 
the  dumb  holy  man.  As  we  were  not  invulnerable  to 
tigers,  we  decided  to  keep  our  positions,  and  settled 
down  for  another  five  or  six  hours'  watch.  The  moon 
by  this  time  had  got  low,  and  the  path,  not  more  than  a 
couple  of  feet,  was  in  deep  shadow.  About  four  o'clock 
a  number  of  monkeys  in  the  trees  near  by  began  to 
"  swear,"  and  Kader  whispered  to  me  that  the  tiger 
was  about,  and  the  monkeys  had  seen  him.  This  must 
have  been  the  case,  for  in  a  few  minutes  a  tiger  sprang 
out  of  the  jungle  and  seized  my  goat  by  the  neck, 
intending  to  carry  him  off  on  the  spring.  In  this,  how- 
ever, he  was  disappointed,  as  I  had  tethered  the  goat 
round  the  body  with  a  jungle  creeper,  much  stronger 
than  a  rope  of  like  calibre.  The  goat  had  four  large 
teeth-marks  in  the  neck,  in  one  of  which  I  could  put  my 
finger  for  a  couple  of  inches,  and  its  neck  was  broken. 
I  fired,  but  in  the  darkness  missed.  Weary  men,  we 
descended  from  our  perch  at  daybreak,  firmly  resolved 
not  to  repeat  the  experience. 

In  connection  with  this  incident  and  the  "  kramat " 
man,  Mr.  H.N.  Ridley,  in  an  article  in  the  Straits  Times 
Annual  for  1906,  on  the  ''  Tiger  in  Myth  and  Reality," 
gives  the  following  version  : 



"  A  sportsman,  G.P.O.,  in  pursuit  of  a  tiger  near 
Changi,  sat  all  night  in  a  tree  overlooking  a  forest  path 
which  led  to  the  village,  expecting  that  his  prey  would 
sooner  or  later  come  along  the  track.  In  the  middle  of 
the  night  the  figure  of  a  native  was  seen  coming  along  in 
the  direction  of  the  village. 

*'  *  Who  are  you  ?  '  cried  the  sportsman. 

'^ '  It  is  I,'  was  the  reply,  and  the  figure  vanished  in 
the  gloom. 

'^  At  five  o'clock  in  the  morning,  when  it  was  darkest, 
the  '  great  cat  '  rushed  suddenly  from  under  the  tree 
across  the  path  and  seized  the  goat  tied  up  underneath. 
The  sportsman  fired,  but  it  was  too  dark  to  see  clearly, 
and  the  tiger  crashed  back  into  the  wood  unhurt.  On 
his  return  to  the  village,  he  inquired  of  the  inhabitants 
who  it  was  that  had  come  down  the  forest  track  at 
midnight.  They  declared  that  no  one  had  done  so,  nor 
would  anyone  dare  to  walk  there  at  night  while  the  tigers 
were  about ;  and  where,  they  added,  could  he  have  come 
from,  as  the  path  led  to  no  other  village. 

'*  The  sportsman  and  his  '  shikari '  said  that  they  had 
seen  and  spoken  to  the  man,  who  answered  them. 

'' '  Oh,  that  was  the  tiger,'  they  all  said, '  in  the  form  of 
a  man  come  to  see  where  you  were,  and  when  it  found 
out,  of  course  refused  to  come  down  the  path  where  you 
could  shoot  it,  so  he  hid  under  the  tree  instead.'  Many 
other  weird  tales  of  interwoven  myth  and  fact  might 
be  told  of  this  superb  and  mysterious  animal,  of  the 
part  it  plays  in  the  magic  dreamland  of  the  East,  and  in 
the  reality  of  the  fife  of  the  peasant." 

Many  animals  are  beheved  by  the  natives  to  be  kramat, 
and  it  is  very  annoying,  after  your  beater  has  been  out 
tracking  and  the  guns  arrive,  to  be  told  that  there  is 
nothing  in  the  neighbourhood  except  the  kramat  deer,  or 
the  kramat  pig,  which,  of  course,  it  is  useless  to  go  after. 
The  title  has  generally  been  gained  by  the  superior 
cunning  of  the  animal  in  evading  the  guns  or  the  bad 
shooting  of  the  men  who  have  been  after  it.  When, 
sooner  or  later,  the  animal  does  fall  to  a  well-directed 
bullet  from  a  persistent  hunter,  their  faith  has  a  rude 
shock,  but  there  is  generally  an  explanation  forthcoming. 
II — 25 


Within  recent  years  the  head  of  a  rebelhous  tribe  pro- 
claimed himself  kramat,  and  believed  it  himself,  till  he 
was  captured  and  shot  in  the  presence  of  his  followers. 
So  much  for  the  invulnerable  kramat. 

On  the  mainland  there  are  many  black  panthers — 
none  of  the  spotted  variety  is,  I  believe,  met  with, 
though  some  are  called  by  the  natives  harimau  kumbang. 
From  time  to  time,  reports  are  made  of  this  animal  being 
seen  on  the  island,  and  there  is  no  inherent  reason  why, 
if  a  tiger  swims  the  Straits,  the  black  panther  should  not ; 
but  I  have  never  seen  one  or  heard  of  one  being  shot  or 
trapped  in  Singapore,  though  one  frequently  hears  of 
fowls,  cats,  dogs,  etc.,  being  carried  off  by  a  panther. 
But  then  fowls,  and  even  dogs  and  cats,  can  be  converted 
into  money  by  night  prowlers.  The  resident  who 
declares  that  he  was  followed,  while  on  his  bicycle,  for 
some  miles  by  a  black  panther  probably  overlooked 
the  fact  that  black  pariah  dogs  abound  in  that  district. 

Next  to  the  tiger  in  size  is  the  sambur  deer,  and  these 
were  formerly  quite  common,  but  now  are  reduced  to 
a  pitiful  half-dozen.  A  fine  animal,  running  up  to  330  lb. 
weight ;  those  shot  on  the  island  are  similar  to  the 
sambur  on  the  mainland,  many  of  the  old  stagers 
having  handsome  horns. 

The  troubles  of  the  jungle  do  not  always  consist  in 
the  fierceness  of  the  animal  hunted.  On  one  occasion, 
when  out  with  a  Captain  Dawkins,  of  the  5th  Fusihers, 
after  deer,  in  order  to  give  him  a  good  view  of  the  country 
I  advised  him  to  stand  on  the  trunk  of  a  fallen  monarch 
of  the  forest,  which  raised  him  well  above  the  surround- 
ing undergrowth.  When  I  got  to  my  own  station,  some 
1 50  yards  away,  I  saw  him  frantically  waving  his  arms 
and  attempt  to  rub  something  off  his  limbs.  He  flung 
away  his  sun  topi,  followed  it  by  his  rifle,  and  was  pre- 
paring to  discard  his  coat.  Had  he  got  into  the  midst 
of  a  colony  of  red  ants,  keringas,  about  half  an  inch 
long  with  terrible  nippers,  that  bite  and  never  give  way  ? 
I  went  to  his  assistance,  and  found  that  it  was  not  red 
ants,  but  bees  that  he  was  attacked  by.     Realising  that 


they  would  go  for  anything  within  sight,  I  called  out  to 
him  to  follow  me,  but  at  a  distance,  and  reaching  a  bed 
of  bracken,  I  carefully  crawled  under  it,  flat  on  the 
ground,  under  about  five  feet  of  the  dense  fern.  I 
called  to  him  to  follow  my  example,  and  to  my  horror 
he  followed  me  into  my  tunnel,  and  brought  hundreds 
of  the  vicious  insects  with  him.  After  combating 
them  for  some  time  under  these  disadvantageous  cir- 
cumstances, I  told  him  in  forcible  language  to  get  out 
of  it  and  run  down  the  path,  and  when  I  could  stand  it 
no  longer,  I  followed  his  example,  intending  to  go  the 
opposite  way.  The  bees  came  on  me  in  ever  greater 
numbers.  I  found  I  was  following  him,  and  as  we  ran 
the  insects  left  him  to  go  for  me  !  At  last  I  rushed  to 
a  stagnant  pool  of  water  at  a  dip  in  the  path,  and  lay 
down  in  it,  my  topi  covering  my  face,  and  remained 
quite  motionless  for  some  ten  minutes.  On  getting  out 
of  the  pool  I  found  myself  covered  with  horse-leeches, 
and  had  practically  to  strip  to  rid  myself  of  the  loathsome 
things  I  Further  down  the  path  I  came  to  my  friend 
having  the  bee-stings  extracted  by  an  old  Chinaman, 
who  consolingly  muttered,  as  he  cleared  out  each  sting, 
''  tid'apa  "  (nevermind),  which,  being  translated  to  Daw- 
kins  as  "  a  matter  of  no  importance,"  made  him  more 
indignant  than  ever.  We  consoled  ourselves  that  they 
were  only  bees,  and  not  hornets,  of  which  three  stings 
will  kill  a  man  and  six  a  horse. 

Wild  pig  {Sus  cristatus)  have  at  all  times  been  more 
numerous  than  other  kinds  of  game  in  and  around  the 
swamps  of  the  island.  They,  like  deer,  afford  good 
shooting  for  the  rifle,  but  owing  to  the  thickness  of  the 
undergrowth  and  the  ease  with  which  they  can  slip 
through  it  noiselessly  and  at  a  fair  pace,  buck-shot  is 
more  effective  than  ball.  From  their  habit  of  feeding 
on  roots,  they  do  a  good  deal  of  damage  in  vegetable 
gardens  and  on  tapioca  estates,  and  it  used  to  be 
customary  to  keep  a  man  or  two  occupied  entirely  in 
shooting  down  wild  pig.  At  times,  when  beating 
swamps  and  thickets,  as  many  as  ten  or  fifteen  have  been 


turned  out  of  quite  small  patches.  The  Chinese  set 
spring-guns  and  dig  pits  to  capture  them,  and  their 
flesh  is  quite  good  eating.  The  Malays  do  not  touch  the 
animal,  and  do  not  shoot  or  trap  it,  but  they  have  inge- 
nious ways  of  keeping  the  animals  out  of  their  gardens, 
or  of  killing  them  if  they  get  in. 

During  the  north-east  monsoon,  in  the  rainy  season, 
from  November  to  February,  or  even  later,  very  fair 
snipe  shooting  used  to  be  had  in  the  swamps  and  marshy 
land,  which  provide  food  for  the  birds,  and  large  wisps 
would  arrive  with  the  rain  and  the  north  wind.  Not 
infrequently  hundreds  could  be  seen  on  the  wing,  cruis- 
ing round  before  deciding  where  to  settle.  But  this, 
again,  was  in  the  old  days,  before  the  advent  of  the 
hevea.  Many  good  bags  were  made,  as  many  as  fifty 
or  sixty  couple  falling  to  a  couple  of  guns  in  a  few  hours. 
Now  twenty  couple  is  an  exceptional  day's  bag. 

About  the  year  1881  Mr.  James  Miller  (GilfiUan,  Wood 
and  Co.),  with  whom  I  was  then  living,  made  an  attempt 
to  introduce  the  Indian  red-legged  partridge  into  Singa- 
pore, and  imported  about  a  hundred  birds.  They  were 
kept  in  an  enclosure  on  his  compound  at  Nassim  Hill, 
Tanglin,  and  apparently  had  got  accustomed  to  their 
new  habitat  and  quite  satisfied  with  their  new  surround- 
ings. But  one  night  a  musang  (Paradoxurus  hermo- 
phrodyta)  forced  a  hole  in  the  roof  and  killed  several. 
Miller  decided  to  let  the  rest  go  free,  and  some  flew  away, 
but  many  remained  close  to  their  previous  enclosure. 
Food  was  put  on  the  tennis-lawn  for  them  each  morning, 
and  quite  a  number  used  to  come  for  their  early  breakfast. 
One  morning  an  old  hen  was  seen  approaching  in  an 
excited  manner,  and  presently  out  came  a  brood  of  young 
partridges,  much  to  the  delight  of  all  of  us.  As  many 
birds  had  settled  round  about  the  house,  it  was  hoped 
that  this  might  be  taking  place  elsewhere  as  well. 
Notices  were  put  up  asking  residents  not  to  shoot  them, 
and  they  were  not,  to  our  knowledge,  shot  by  local  sports- 
men. The  regiment  at  Tanghn,  just  in  the  midst  of 
the  new  home  of  the  birds,  was  changed  for  another. 


Soon  after  their  arrival  Miller  met  one  of  the  officers  at 
a  dinner  party,  and  in  course  of  conversation  the  new 
sportsman  said  :  "You  fellows  don't  know  the  good  shoot- 
ing there  is  on  the  island.  This  morning,  before  eight 
o'clock,  I  got  four  couple  of  partridges  within  a  mile  of 
the  barracks  !  "  Miller's  attempt  did  not  succeed.  No 
doubt  musang,  snakes,  and  other  enemies  were  too  much 
for  the  strangers. 

Occasionally  a  painted  snipe  is  put  up,  but  they  are 
very  rare.  The  same  applies  to  teal  and  wild  duck, 
but  many  regular  snipe  shooters  never  saw  one  of  these 
birds  in  the  island. 

Golden  plover  usually  visit  us  a  month  or  so  in  advance 
of  the  snipe.  They  are  at  all  times  fairly  plentiful, 
but  always  difficult  to  approach,  as  they  invariably 
settle  on  open  ground ;  and  though  they  are  not  so  hard 
to  get  at  as  the  same  bird  at  home,  a  good  deal  of 
manoeuvring  is  required  to  get  within  range. 

Green  pigeons  are  plentiful  when  certain  jungle  trees 
are  in  fruit,  and  under  certain  conditions  enormous  bags 
are  made.  The  birds  roost  by  thousands  in  clumps  of 
trees  some  distance  from  where  they  feed.  The  general 
method  is  to  place  guns  round  the  clump  of  trees  where 
they  are  known  to  roost,  and  get  the  birds  on  their  evening 
flight  back  after  feeding.  A  shot  into  the  brown  may 
bring  down  several,  and  by  placing  five  or  six  guns 
round  the  roosting  trees  two  or  three  hundred  can  be 
got  in  an  hour  and  a  half. 

The  pergam,  a  magnificent  large  pigeon,  is  also  to 
be  had,  though  difficult  to  bring  down,  as  he  flies  high 
and  has  strong  feathers.  No.  4  shot  is  generally  required. 
Not  far  from  the  impounding  reservoir  a  large  wild 
fig  tree,  standing  in  thick  jungle  about  eighty  feet  high, 
was  in  full  fruit,  and  attracted  numbers  of  pergam. 
Not  having  any  No.  4  shot,  my  friend  D.  Maw  climbed 
up  the  tree,  and  shot  many  with  snipe  shot  as  they 
circled  about.  Although  frequently  shot  at,  they  re- 
turned, and  continued  to  circle  about  for  quite  a  long 


Quail  are  occasionally  put  up  from  patches  of  lallang 
grass,  but  their  numbers  are  so  few  that  they  are  not 
considered  enough  attraction  for  the  sportsman.  Two 
kinds  are  found,  the  ordinary  speckled-breasted  one 
{Excalfactoria  chinensis)  and  the  very  small  brown  bird 
(Turnix  pugnax)  with  a  red  stern.    . 

A  species  of  water -fowl  is  also  to  be  met,  but  is 
not  shot  by  Europeans.  The  native  gunner,  however, 
will  shoot  anything  that  gets  up.  To  him  nothing  is 
sacred,  not  even  does  in  the  breeding  season.  When 
game  was  more  plentiful  the  Government  passed  a 
Destruction  of  Wild  Birds  and  Animals  Ordinance, 
prescribing  a  close  season.  The  Ordinance,  I  believe, 
still  exists,  though  with  little  practical  application. 

The  days  of  sport  on  the  island  are  almost  over,  and 
one  cannot  but  regret  that  the  all-conquering  rubber  has 
put  an  end  to  one  of  the  most  delightful  pastimes  which 
our  predecessors  of  as  recently  as  twenty  years  ago 
thoroughly  enjoyed. 



Mr.  Buckley,  himself  an  enthusiastic  amateur,  says  in 
his  book  that  the  earhest  record  of  amateur  theatricals 
in  Singapore  was  in  1833,  when  the  amateurs  essayed 
Dr.  Young's  celebrated  and  much-admired  tragedy  The 
Revenge ;  the  attempt  was  a  failure,  and  the  paper  gave 
the  performers  a  good  slating.  Mr.  Buckley  gives  quite 
a  full  account  of  amateur  theatricals  up  to  1867. 

The  first  theatre  was  in  Cross  Street,  Teluk  Ayer,  and 
in  it  the  amateurs  played  She  Stoops  to  Conquer.  In 
1834  a  move  was  made  to  Chong  Long's  house  at  Kam- 
pong  Glam.  Chong  Long  was  a  well-known  and  popular 
Chinaman,  whose  personal  residence  was  in  the  Square. 
The  house  at  Kampong  Glam  was  later  bought  by  Mr. 
Carnie,  and  after  him  by  Mr.  James  Eraser,  of  Maclaine, 
Eraser  and  Co.  The  first  performance  at  Chong  Long's 
was  a  failure  ;  the  paper  was  so  unkind  as  to  observe 
that  "  the  whole  would  have  gone  off  much  better  had 
several  of  them  kept  sober ^  and  others  remembered  their 
parts  better."  This  performance  was  so  damping  that 
it  was  not  for  another  ten  years  that  theatricals  were 
revived  ;  Captain  Calbeck,  of  the  Madras  Army,  was 
the  brave  man,  and  Mr.  W.  H.  Read  aided  and  abetted 
him.  In  those  days,  and  for  years  after,  none  of  the 
actors  appeared  on  the  programme  under  their  own 
names,  but  each  took  a  fancy  name  ;  Captain  Cal- 
beck used  the  delightfully  appropriate  one  of  Vincent 
Crummies,  and  under  his  management  things  went  well. 

The  theatre  was  at  the  London  Hotel,  in  Coleman 



Street,  which  stood  where  the  Adelphi  does  to-day  ; 
the  proprietor,  Mr.  Dutronquoy,  rigged  up  a  theatre  in 
one  of  the  rooms  and  called  it  the  Theatre  Royal.  In 
the  first  performance  there,  in  1844,  Mr.  W.  H.  Read 
made  his  debut  in  Charles  the  Second,  or  the  Merry 
Monarchy  sl  very  favourite  play  at  the  time.  Women's 
parts  in  the  old  days  were  always  played  by  men,  and 
of  these  men  Mr.  W.  H.  Read  was  in  his  day  the  most 
clever  ;  he  always  used  the  stage  name  of  Miss  Petowker. 
Mr.  Buckley  says  that  Miss  Petowker  had  the  smallest 
waist  and  smallest  foot  of  any  lady  in  Singapore  ! 

Another  amateur  who  made  his  debut  in  Charles 
the  Second  was  Mr.  Thomas  Dunman,  father  of  Messrs. 
Robert  and  William  Dunman,  whose  names  are  also 
famous  in  the  annals  of  Singapore  theatricals.  His 
stage  name  was  Mr.  Johnson,  and  Mr.  Buckley  says  that 
he  was  the  greatest  low  comedian  Singapore  had  ever 
seen.  However,  when  he  joined  the  police  force,  his 
theatrical  career  had  to  cease,  as  the  authorities  objected 
to  his  acting  ;  his  last  part,  which  he  played  after  he 
had  joined  the  force,  was  the  appropriate  one  of  Captain 
Copp  !  Though  he  was  lost  to  the  stage,  his  comic  songs, 
sketches,  and  jokes  were  always  in  evidence  at  his  own 
and  his  friends'  houses. 

Mr.  William  Napier,  the  lawyer,  and  later  Lieutenant- 
Governor  of  Labuan,  was  also  a  leader  in  amateur 
theatricals  at  this  time  ;  he  played  the  part  of  the  King 
in  Charles  the  Second,  and  when  answering  one  of  the 
other  characters  who  inquired  how  His  Majesty  had 
passed  the  night,  brought  down  the  house  by  saying 
"  Vara  restless  !  Vara  restless  I  "  This  reminds  one 
of  another  Scotch  lawyer,  Mr.  J.  G.  Campbell,  who  did 
much  the  same  thing  in  Under  the  Red  Robe.  He  played 
the  part  of  a.  French  inn-keeper,  and  delighted  the 
audiences  by  his  version  of  one  of  his  lines.  "  Ah  I 
'Tis  the  way  of  the  wurrld  !  "  he  proclaimed,  which  for 
a  French  inn-keeper  was  at  least  precocious.  Mr. 
Campbell  has  given  up  theatricals  now,  but  his  fine  bass 
was  always  very  useful  in  musical  plays. 


When  Dutronquoy  moved  his  hotel  to  where  the 
Europe  is  now,  the  Theatre  Royal  disappeared,  and  the 
amateurs  moved  to  the  old  Assembly  Rooms  at  the 
foot  of  Fort  Canning,  where  a  very  passable  theatre 
was  made,  the  scenery  for  which  was  painted  by  Mr. 
C.  A.  Dyce,  of  Martin,  Dyce  and  Co.,  who  was  a  brother 
of  Mr.  Dyce,  the  R.A.  The  first  performance  at  this 
new  Theatre  Royal  was  in  1845. 

The  most  celebrated  of  the  amateurs  in  the  'Forties, 
besides  those  already  mentioned,  were  Mr.  Archie 
Spottiswoode,  who  played  women's  parts  under  the 
name  of  Miss  Ledbrook ;  Captain  J.  D.  Scott,  of  the 
Madras  Artillery,  calling  himself  Mr.  Folair ;  and  Mr. 
J.  D.  Vaughan,  the  lawyer,  whose  name  was  Mr.  Jingle. 
Mr.  Farleigh  Armstrong,  then  in  William  Macdonald 
and  Co.,  made  his  debut  in  1845,  ^^^  was  for  long  the 
leading  comedian.  Mr.  W.  H.  Read  gave  up  women's 
parts  in  that  year,  but  continued  for  long  afterwards 
in  men's. 

After  this  there  was  a  considerable  lull,  until  1855, 
when  four  performances  were  given.  In  1857  the 
amateurs  were  busy  playing  in  aid  of  a  fund  to  fit  up 
a  new  theatre  at  the  Town  Hall,  which  took  the  place 
of  the  old  Assembly  Rooms,  demolished  in  1856.  A 
temporary  theatre  was  erected  on  their  site,  and  was  the 
home  of  the  amateurs  until  1861,  when  they  moved  to 
the  Town  Hall,  which  stood  where  the  present  Victoria 
Theatre  stands,  and  which  was  pulled  down  only  in 
1906  to  make  way  for  the  latter. 

Captain  J.  D.  Scott  left  with  his  battery  for  India 
in  i860,  and  Mr.  W.  H.  Read  became  President  and 
Stage  Manager  of  the  Corps  Dramatique.  Mr.  Farleigh 
Armstrong,  whose  stage  name  was  Mr.  Bono,  proved 
a  worthy  successor  to  Mr.  Thomas  Dunman  as  low 
comedian.  Mr.  G.  M.  Dare,  then  in  Syme  and  Co.,  joined 
the  Corps  Dramatique  in  1857,  ^nd  took  a  lively  part 
in  it  for  many  years.  A  playbill  of  Helping  Hands, 
performed  in  October  1857,  has  Mr.  Dare's  list  of 
members    next    their    acting    names.     Amongst    them 


are  the  names  of  Messrs.  Frederick  Mansfield  Goss,  of 
Ker,  Rawson  and  Co. ;  Robert  Barclay  Read,  of  A.  L. 
Johnston  and  Co. ;  H.  W.  Wood  and  WiUiam  Adamson, 
both  then  in  the  Borneo  Co.  Mr.  (the  late  Sir)  William 
Adamson  played  a  woman's  part,  and  later  became 
the  leading  light  comedian  ;  for  years  he  took  an  active 
part  in  theatricals,  even  so  late  as  1876,  as  we  shall  see 

In  1 861  Mr.  F.  D.  Barnes,  of  the  P.  and  O.  Company, 
first  appeared  ;  he  was  an  actor  possessing  great  powers 
in  the  famous  Robson's  line.  His  first  role  in  Singapore 
was  in  Robson's  part  in  The  Chimney  Corner,  which 
was  played  with  Boots  at  the  Swan,  written  by  Mr. 
John  Cameron,  Editor  of  the  Straits  Times.  The  latter 
was  the  first  amateur-written  play  produced  here,  and 
a  great  success,  the  title-role  being  played  by  Mr.  Farleigh 

About  the  end  of  1861  a  second  amateur  society 
was  formed,  the  Savage  Club,  of  which  the  leading 
spirit  was  Mr.  William  Steel,  of  the  Mercantile  Bank. 
The  result  was  that  1862  was  a  red-letter  year,  the 
Corps  Dramatique  going  at  full  blast  in  the  Town  Hall 
and  the  Savage  Club  at  Barganny  House,  Mr.  Steel's 
residence,  where  a  stage  was  fitted  up.  Mr.  J.  D. 
Vaughan  was  President  and  Stage  Manager  of  the 
Savage  Club,  and  Mr.  Robert  Barclay  Read  of  the  Corps 

The  Savage  Club  in  this  year  produced  Fra  Diavolo, 
the  first  musical  play  given  by  amateurs  in  Singapore, 
though  musical  numbers  had  been  introduced  in  many 
others  previously.  The  Club  also  produced  Don  Ccesar 
de  Bazan  and  The  Merchant  of  Venice,  both  very 
courageous  efforts  for  amateurs  ;  but  the  Club  was  very 
fortunate  in  possessing  Dr.  H.  A.  Allen  as  its  tragedian, 
and  Mr.  De  La  Feuillade,  of  the  Borneo  Co.,  for  melo- 
drama. The  latter  was  splendid  in  broken  English 
parts.  The  Club's  leading  lady  was  Mr.  William  Mul- 
^holland,  of  the  Borneo  Co.,  and  Mr.  Buckley  says 
'that  as  a  delineator  of  female  characters  he  was  never 


surpassed,  his  Portia  in  particular  being  excellent. 
He  played  Maritana  in  Don  Ccesar  de  Bazan  ;  Mr. 
Buckley  says  that  he  was  exquisite  in  the  part,  and 
that  no  stranger  visiting  the  theatre  could  have  realised 
that  a  man  and  not  a  woman  was  playing. 

The  low  comedian  of  the  Savage  Club  was  Mr.  Charles 
Emmerson,  of  Emmerson's  Tiffin  Rooms.  He  was  quite 
equal  to  any  of  his  predecessors,  and,  when  he  joined 
the  Corps  Dramatique  later,  proved  an  able  successor 
to  Mr.  Farleigh  Armstrong. 

The  Savage  Club  had,  however,  a  very  short  career, 
for  Mr.  Steel  left  in  1863  for  Bombay,  and,  though 
attempts  were  made  to  resuscitate  it,  the  Club  ended 
with  Mr.  Steel's  departure. 

In  1864  was  commenced  the  series  of  Children's 
Parties  at  Christmas-time,  which  were  continued  from 
year  to  year  till  191 1.  Mr.  C.  B.  Buckley,  "  the  Chil- 
dren's Friend,"  wrote  the  children's  plays,  designed  the 
costumes,  arranged  and  stage-managed,  and  bore  the 
cost  of  production  and  of  the  subsequent  entertainment. 
He  lives  in  the  memories  of  all  whose  childhood  was 
spent  in  Singapore  during  his  life  here,  and  those  grown- 
ups who  helped  him  in  his  entertainments  have  an  in- 
effaceable recollection  of  the  energy,  skill,  and  powers  of 
organisation  which  he  devoted  to  pleasing  the  children 
and  making  their  Christmas  happy.  Mr.  Buckley  was 
himself  a  good  actor,  and  a  capable  musician,  but  he 
had  also  the  genius  of  mise  en  scene  and  stage  manage- 
ment ;  this  is  happily  summed  up  in  the  last  verse  of 
some  lines  in  Straits  Produce  for  April  1895,  concerning 
him  and  his  ways  : 

When  the  limelights  he  works  upon  the  stage 
He  refresheth  the  hearts  of  youth  and  age. 
With  sweet  fairies  and  scenes  our  minds  engage 
With  troubles  of  lovers  and  of  love  the  rage, 
And  the  children  love  him  so, 
His  kindness  is  felt  by  all. 
Meanness  of  self  he  doth  not  know. 
He  helpeth  those  who  fall. 

After    his    death    in    19.12    the    children    subscribed 


for  a  portrait  of  their  friend,  which  hangs  in  the  Town 
Hall  ;  it  is  painted  by  the  late  Mr.  John  Adamson 
from  portraits  and  knowledge  supplied  by  Mrs.  G.  P. 
Owen,  and  is  a  masterpiece  of  portraiture.  The  unveiling 
ceremony  was  attended  by  nearly  a  thousand  children 
and  grown-ups. 

After  1867  folks  seem  to  have  got  very  serious  ; 
possibly  the  Transfer  was  too  much  for  them ;  but 
whatever  the  reason  was,  theatricals  seem  to  have 
stopped  altogether,  and  it  was  not  until  1876  that  a 
revival  was  attempted.  Helping  Hands  was  put  on 
again,  and  with  it  was  played  a  farce  by  Edmund  Yates 
called  My  Friend  from  Leatherhead.  The  Singapore 
Daily  Times  commenced  its  critique  thus  : 

"  The  Amateur  Dramatic  Corps  of  some  twenty-five 
or  thirty  years  ago,  which  has  just  been  rescued  from 
decay  by  the  energ}'-  and  public  spirit  of  the  young 
men  of  the  Colony,  if  its  records  had  been  diligently 
chronicled,  would  have  now  presented  an  interesting 
story  of  the  social  life  of  the  Settlement." 

Those  are  very  true  words,  and  the  reader  will  find 
in  Mr.  Buckley's  account  of  theatricals  and  in  this 
account  name  after  name  of  persons,  men  and  women, 
who  played  big  parts  in  the  social  life  of  Singapore. 

Amongst  the  names  of  "  the  young  men  of  the  Colony  " 
responsible  for  the  revival  in  1876  are  those  of  Hervey, 
Maxwell,  McCallum,  Stringer,  Swettenham,  and  Cadell. 
The  Hon.  Mr.  William  Adamson  was  the  Stage  Manager  ; 
he  had  played  in  Helping  Hands  in  1857.  The  play  was 
a  domestic  drama  by  Tom  Taylor,  and  a  very  popular 
one  in  its  time,  but  very  out  of  date  in  1876.  The 
ladies'  parts  were  still  taken  by  men,  Messrs.  Budd, 
Sheriff,  and  Cadell.  The  last-named  was  picked  out 
by  the  paper  as  having  acted  to  perfection.  Mr.  J.  C.  D. 
Jones,  of  the  Telegraph  Co.,  made  his  debut  as  William 
Rufus,  Toole's  old  part.  Panjang  Jones,  as  he  was  called, 
was  for  years  one  of  the  leading  spirits  in  amateur 
theatricals,  and  has  left  behind  him  a  very  high  repu- 
tation indeed.     He  and   Mr.  J.  M.  Fabris,  to   be  men- 

J.  C.  D.  JONKS 

n.  386] 

A.   Y.  GAHAGAN.  J.  M.  FABRIS. 

Caricatures  by  R.  \V.  Braddell. 


tioned  later,  were  possibly  the  best  actors  Singapore 
has  seen  in  the  past  fifty  years. 

The  1876  revival  was  only  a  flash  in  the  pan,  and 
the  next  revival  occurred  in  1882,  since  when  Singapore 
has  enjoyed  a  succession  of  amateur  performances, 
very  many  of  which  have  reached  the  highest  level  of 

We  have  to  thank  the  Masonic  fraternity  for  the 
revival.  Mr.  W.  H.  Read  was  District  Grand  Master 
and  patron  of  the  performance  ;  the  programme  de- 
signed was  a  "  blue  "  Mason's  apron  with  appropriate 
emblems,  and  the  brethren  turned  out  in  full  regalia 
and  jewellery.  The  first  piece  was  a  farce  called  A  Fast 
Train  !  High  Pressure  !  !  Express  !  !  !  which  ought 
to  have  damned  it  but  did  not,  for  it  was  a  great  success. 
The  second  was  called  D'ye  know  me  now?  and  this 
expression  remained  for  long  a  great  Singapore  catch 
phrase.  In  it  Mr.  T.  de  M.  Braddell  (now  Sir  Thomas 
Braddell)  made  his  debut  as  Nogo  Dumps.  The  paper 
said  that  "  Mr.  Braddell's  debut  on  the  Singapore 
stage  was  a  thorough  red-letter  day  for  the  Amateur 
Dramatic  Corps  in  having  secured  such  a  valuable 
addition  to  its  staff."  For  the  next  eight  years  he 
played  an  active  part  in  theatricals,  and  was  a  par- 
ticularly good  actor  in  tragedy  and  Henry  Irving  parts. 
Amongst  the  Masonic  fraternity  was  also  Mr.  J.  P. 
Joaquim,  the  lawyer,  and  at  that  time  partner  of  Mr. 
Braddell,  and  he  was  a  very  good  amateur  actor.  The 
Masonic  performance  was  naturally  in  aid  of  charities, 
and  resulted  in  the  collection  of  a  good  sum. 

In  1884  the  Singapore  Amateur  Dramatic  Club  put 
on  The  Wonderful  Woman,  an  adaptation  from  the  French 
by  Charles  Dance,  an  author  whose  plays  had  been 
very  popular  in  the  'Forties.  This  play  had  been  pro- 
duced at  the  Lyceum  in  1 849,  with  Charles  Mathews  as 
the  Marquis  de  Fontignac  and  Madame  Vestris  as  the 
pretty  widow,  Hortense  Bertrand.  Mr.  Streeter  played 
the  former  and  Mrs.  Salzmann  the  latter.  Of  her 
performance  the  paper  said  : 


"  Mrs.  Salzmann  as  the  Marchioness  was  irresistible. 
Her  pretty  face,  engaging  manners,  and  natural  acting 
took  the  house  by  storm.  She  was  greeted  with  vigorous 
applause  throughout  the  piece." 

This  is  the  first  of  many  roles  in  which  Mrs.  Salzmann 
has  delighted  Singapore  audiences,  and  it  is  appropriate 
that  the  first  mention  of  her  is  in  The  Wonderful  Woman, 
for  if  ever  there  was  a  wonderful  woman  she  is  Mrs.  Salz- 
mann. Her  last  appearance  on  the  stage  was  in  His 
Excellency  the  Governor  in  1906,  but  she  still  continues  to 
win  prizes  in  tennis  tournaments,  and  it  seems  little  more 
than  yesterday  since  she  last  sang  in  public.  What 
a  wonderful  voice  she  had,  and  what  expression  she 
put  into  her  songs  !  The  following  lines  from  Straits 
Produce  were  written  to  her  in  1895,  entitled  "  To 
Singapore's  Songstress  " : 

I've  come  from  a  Smoker, 

I'm  wearied  with  noise, 

Last  night  I  played  poker 

With  some  of  the  hoys ; 

And  I  think,  as  I  lie  back — I'm  not  sleepy  yet, 

And  I  drowsily  puff  out  a  last  cigarette — 

What  is  the  use  of  it  when  it's  all  done — 

Blatant  tom-foolery,  where  is  the  fun  ? 

And  I  know,  that's  the  worst,  that  none  of  the  throng 

Can  move  me  as  you,  with  one  simple  sweet  song. 

"  Queen  of  the  Fairies,"  "  Ruth,"  proud  "  Gypsy  Queen," 

"  Katisha" — each  in  their  turn  you  have  been. 
As  each  you've  excelled  ; — ^yet  I  do